Thursday, October 23, 2008

Some More Good Education News

Yesterday, I noted that relief may be on the way to overstressed third, fifth and eighth graders in Texas schools, as the education committees in each house of the Texas Legislature proposed the elimination of the requirement to pass the TAKS test in order to be promoted to the next grade. (If you're not from Texas and missed the previous discussion, it comes down to this: A student could pass every class during the year, but if he/she failed this standardized test, promotion would be denied. Doesn't this render the whole idea of grades fairly meaningless, if it can be trumped by one test? And it also should be noted that any sentence which contains the phrase "overstressed third-graders" is indicative of a big problem somewhere.)

So here's today's good news: State Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes--who must have received a slew of complaints about his proposal to take extra weight away from pre-AP and pre-IB courses when computing students' GPA's with regard to college admission (as discussed here)--has agreed to adjust his plan so that those courses would get an extra half-point in weight; AP, IB and dual-credit courses would still get the one extra grade point of weight as in the original proposal.

(There's no word as to whether fine arts courses, which are left out of the GPA calculation completely in the current plan, might find their way back in, but Paredes says that he is soliciting suggestions of other courses to include in the calculation, so there may yet be hope.)

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