Proposed Graduation Plan highlights

As you formulate next year’s course offerings, please consider the following (although these are NOT final rules):


  1. for a STEM endorsement, students must take Algebra II, chemistry, physics, AND four related credit
  2. speech is no longer identified as a specific credit requirement
  3.  a given AP or IB course may not count toward more than one credit required for graduation
  4.  the criteria for earning performance acknowledgments are quite high (e.g., an AP score of 4 or 5)
  5.  districts must report to TEA names of locally developed courses, programs, IHEs and internships that count for graduation credit
  6.  mathematics courses are grouped, such that some can only be taken as a third math credit for graduation purposes, and others are subject to prerequisites
  7. Algebra II can be taken as either the third or fourth credits in math; these advanced credit requirements can be satisfied in “mix-or-match” combinations within a group of courses
  8. students also can complete “mix-or-match” combinations of courses to satisfy advanced credit requirements in science, subject to prerequisites
  9. within endorsement-specific requirements, when students are taking CTE courses, rule language was made more flexible to accommodate the varying credit weights of the courses (“a coherent sequence of three or more courses for four or more credits”)
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Graduation Rules Posted

TEA has posted to their website a copy of the graduation plan rules, as approved for filing with the Texas Register.  The comment period opens Dec. 20 and closes at the Jan. 2014 SBOE meeting (Jan. 28-31, 2014).

Please see website for for more information:


TEA has also posted information of the adoption of two updates to the Texas Administrative Code.  Commissioner rules related to the transition to new graduation plans, and related to substitute tests for EOC test graduation requirements, were adopted and will take effect December 16.  Please see the webpage “Texas Education Agency—Administrative Rules for the text of proposed rules (below this message).

The comment period on several important sets of proposed commissioner rules ends December 23. These proposed  rules pertain to dissemination of school report cards and the new Texas Academic Performance Reports (TAPRs); grade advancement and accelerated instruction; examination requirements for graduation; and participation of English language learners in the state assessment program.  Districts should submit comments to the agency by December 23, 2013 at 

Click on TEA–Administrative Rules

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Index 2 Targets


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Important Commissioner’s Letter

Use this link to access the TAA with links to the release STAAR exams and information about future accountability:

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Commissioner Williams meeets with Education Secretary

to discuss Texas’ NCLB waiver request

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More than 100 education-related bills were passed during the regular session of 83rd Texas Legislature. Most of those were signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry. This link to TEA provides information about education-related bills.

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HB 5 assessment requirements

TEA announces initial assessment requirements under HB 5

AUSTIN – Under House Bill 5 (HB 5), passed by the 83rd Texas Legislature and signed by the governor, high school students are now required to pass five State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) end-of-course exams to meet the new graduation requirements.

The five assessments under HB 5 include Algebra I, English I (combined reading/writing), English II (combined reading/writing), biology, and U.S. history. The Texas Education Agency will be advising school districts and charters that students must pass all five of these end-of-course assessments to be eligible to graduate from a Texas public high school.

As a result, students who have taken a required assessment – but have not yet passed – will still need to demonstrate satisfactory performance on that exam to meet the state’s graduation requirements.

Reading and writing are currently assessed separately in English I and English II. However, HB 5 requires reading and writing be combined and given in a single day.

High school students who have to date passed English I or English II reading but not English I or English II writing (or vice versa) will still need to successfully complete the second test to meet graduation requirements. Existing state law does not allow the commissioner to waive a testing requirement.

The English I and English II tests will continue to have separate reading and writing tests for the July 2013 test administration and the December 2013 test administration. English I and English II assessments that combine reading and writing will be available beginning in spring 2014. High school students who have not successfully completed a separate reading or writing assessment by that time will take the new combined English I or English II test.

“Whenever the state revises its graduation plans and assessment requirements, many high school students get caught in that transition,” said Commissioner of Education Michael L. Williams. “The Texas Education Agency is working to make that transition a smooth one for those already in the pipeline, while also balancing fairness to those students who have successfully completed components of the current system.”

Assessments in Algebra II, geometry, English III, chemistry, physics, world geography, and world history have been eliminated from the testing requirements. As a result, the July 2013 2  {sic}

STAAR administration will not include assessments for these courses. End-of-course assessments will continue to be offered in Algebra I, English I, English II, biology, and U.S. history.

The Texas Education Agency will be advising school districts and charters that accelerated instruction is required for students who did not perform satisfactorily on end-of-course exams required for graduation under HB 5 (Algebra I, English I (reading/writing), English II (reading/writing), biology, and U.S. history).

Since the end-of-course exams for chemistry, physics, Algebra II, geometry, world history, world geography and English III are no longer required for high school graduation under HB 5, accelerated instruction is not required for those courses.

HB 5 also eliminates the 15 percent grading requirement. Under the rule previously connected to the STAAR end-of-course examinations, a student’s score on the STAAR end-of-course exams would have counted 15 percent of the student’s final grade in each tested subject area. The STAAR end-of-course cumulative score component has also been eliminated.

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Index Chart

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Cut Scores

Grades 3-8


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Academic Achievement Distinction Designations

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