Sep 9, 2013 10:39 PM by Mike Manzoni -- firstname.lastname@example.org
CORPUS CHRISTI -- The State Board of Education is making changes to its high school graduation requirements, something teachers and students alike said will allow for more classroom instruction time and better college preparation.
But not everyone likes the changes, which will drastically reduce the number of standardized tests students are required to take and create a 22-credit foundation program.
The Texas State Legislature passed - and Gov. Rick Perry signed into law - a bill that will implement a "Foundation System," graduation program. It will replace the minimum, recommended and distinguished graduation plans that are currently in place.
In addition, the changes will require students to take fewer tests - down from 15 to five - throughout the course of their high school career, and the tests will no longer account for 15 percent of their final grade in each of the five courses.
Suzanne Hallford, an English teacher at W.B. Ray High School, welcomes the new requirements, saying that they will allow more more instruction time. "Some of the things that we saw throughout the school year was that we were spending more time testing than we has the students in our classrooms."
Both teachers and students said the additional instruction time will also help ease stress levels while allowing better preparation for the SATs and college.
But some students see drawbacks with fewer tests. "I feel like Texas - they lower their standards," said sophomore Aubrianna Abbema, "and I feel like why not try to raise the level?"
Under the new system, students will also have the opportunity to earn endorsements in particular disciplines by taking additional credits in those subject areas.
The new system takes effect in the 2014-15 school year. The new testing requirements take effect this spring.