• Concern: Over reliance on high-stakes testing
    Desired Remedy:
    • Reduce the volume of testing by developing a more reasonable approach to assessment
    • Develop a reasonable exemption from assessments for English language learners
    • Consider testing at fewer grade levels or in fewer subjects
    PISD’s Story: When all state-mandated testing dates are taken into considerations, PISD campuses spend 40 days per year testing students. Although not all students on a campus are involved in testing, the campus climate is significantly altered on testing days, and instructional time is reduced.
    Concern: Lack of coordination between state and federal ratings
    Desired Remedy:
    • Better align state and federal standards by adopting the Common Core
    PISD’s Story: Most PISD campuses met state standards for student achievement but did not meet federal standards. These ratings are confusing for parents and community members and do not reflect the quality of instruction taking place in PISD classrooms.

    Concern: Required summer school intervention not funded
    Desired Remedy:
    • Provide funding for required intervention
    PISD’s Story: Districts are required to provide intervention for students who do not pass assessments, and with the implementation of End of Course (EOC) exams, the number of students needing intervention is expected to grow. PISD spent $135,000 on Student Success Initiative (SSI) in 2012.

    Concern: State accountability system presents unreasonable hurdles for school districts and the students they serve
    Desired Remedy: 
    • Move End-of-Course (EOC) testing closer to the end of the school year, and improve the turn-around time for test results so intervention can be scheduled in a timely manner
    • Provide local flexibility concerning the EOC 15% rule, and allow districts to determine how EOC scores factor into students’ grades
    • Eliminate the requirement that students achieve a minimum cumulative score on EOC tests
    • PISD supports EOC exams in all core content courses, and believes that required passing in English II, Algebra I and Geometry should be sufficient to meet graduation requirements.
    • Develop a state standard and protocol for converting EOC exam scores to course grades 
    PISD’s Story: The district is required to provide interventions in a timely manner, but official test results take 10 days to receive, which is a valuable loss of instructional time. Students are not required to achieve Level II: Satisfactory Level for the assessment to count toward the cumulative score. A student may make a minimum score which is not Level II: Satisfactory Level and have the score count toward the cumulative score. After three years, a student’s minimum score on his/her first assessement may result in the student not meeting the cumulative score, and thus, not graduating.

    Concern: Inadequate teacher training programs result in districts spending additional money on professional development to prepare teachers to provide quality instruction to a growing number of low income students, and English Language Learners.
    Desired Remedy:
    • Develop rigorous standards for both traditional and alternative certification programs that better prepare aspiring teachers
    PISD’s Story: PISD believes quality classroom instruction is the key to student achievement. In 2012 the district spent nearly $200,000 to help new-to-the-profession teachers learn basic skills such as classroom management, how to use data to monitor and assess student learning, best instructional practices, and understanding state standards (TEKS).