The Texas Legislature is looking to replace the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) test with a series of year end content tests.
This looks like a good move. I think this is more in line with the intent of standardized testing for content mastery, and the four subject areas would seem to cover the concerns of most people who believe students are graduating ill prepared for life.
Here are the concerns:
1. Who will write the standardized content tests? Will they be truly comprehensive and relevent, and free of political wrangling?
2. Will the tests cover skills as well as content?
3. Will this threaten the requirement of four years of science and four years of math? Will we see a dumbing down of curricula to avoid low scores?
4. What about the rest of the curriculum, will we lose music and art and other valuable courses for our kids?
And here's my biggest concern, will the content tests finally be aligned to the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and SKILLS), or will they continue to test below the TEKS standards? The TEKS are a good set of standards, but the TAKS has made it difficult for teachers to teach the TEKS because the TEKS and TAKS don't jibe.
Let me know your ideas about this new direction for Texas education. Do you like it? What are your concerns? What else needs to be done?