Def­i­ni­tion evolv­ing, agency head says

Col­lege

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - Con­tin­ued from B ‘The pass­ing stan­dard and the col­lege readi­ness stan­dard should not be the same thing.’ Drew Scheberle, Con­tact Kate Alexan­der at 445-3618. Twit­ter: @katealexan­der

said Zyskowski had dropped a “bomb­shell” with her dis­clo­sure, which had not been told to school dis­tricts.

“You can make it look like not as many kids need re­me­di­a­tion just by low­er­ing your stan­dards,” Thompson said in an in­ter­view. “It doesn’t change what kids really need.”

Drew Scheberle, vice pres­i­dent of ed­u­ca­tion for the Greater Austin Cham­ber of Com­merce, agreed in an in­ter­view.

“The pass­ing stan­dard and the col­lege readi­ness stan­dard should not be the same thing,” Scheberle said. “Col­lege readi­ness ought to mean col­lege readi­ness.”

Zyskowski said the def­i­ni­tion has been evolv­ing, but she de­nied that it Greater Austin Cham­ber of Com­merce was set lower based on the per­for­mance on the first ad­min­is­tra­tion of the State of Texas As­sess­ments of Aca­demic Readi- ness last spring.

The sat­is­fac­tory stan­dard means that a stu­dent is suf­fi­ciently pre­pared for col­lege but might need some re­me­di­a­tion. Thompson noted that the law states ex­plic­itly that col­lege readi­ness means a stu­dent is pre­pared for an en­try-level course with­out re­me­di­a­tion.

The school dis­tricts are ar­gu­ing that the Leg­is­la­ture has failed to pro­vide ad­e­quate re­sources for schools to bring stu­dents up to the more rig­or­ous col­lege-ready stan­dards. The state main­tains it’s the job of the school dis­tricts, not the state, to meet those stan­dards.

As­sis­tant At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ni­c­hole Bunker-Hen­der­son walked Zyskowski through the state’s test­ing it­er­a­tions over the years and em­pha­sized that the rigor has been in­creas­ing.

Bunker-Hen­der­son showed a sam­ple ques­tion from the 1982 ex­itlevel test and asked how it would com­pare to ques­tions to­day.

“I don’t know that we would have an item that would be quite this sim­ple even on the third-grade test,” Zyskowski said.

Zyskowski tes­ti­fied that stu­dent per­for­mance on the Texas As­sess­ment of Knowl­edge and Skills, the pre­cur­sor to STAAR, had im­proved each year and the achieve­ment gap be­tween stu­dent groups had nar­rowed.

Asked if STAAR per­for­mance will fol­low that tra­jec­tory, Zyskowsi said: “The ex­pec­ta­tion is the same pat­tern would pre­vail.”

Zyskowski, who once said at a con­fer­ence that STAAR would be “really, really hard,” de­nied that the pass­ing stan­dards were set too high.

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