Substitute Assessments Refused Due to PROPOSED Rules

General discussion of STAAR, its validity, its place in the accountability system and all other STAAR related questions.
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scott.placek
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Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:14 pm

We have had numerous reports of districts refusing to accept satisfactory substitute assessment results as meeting the EOC requirements for their courses on the basis that the rules MIGHT change in the future. This is patently illegal. Here is a proposed response.

Dear Principal/Superintendent ____________:

As you acknowedge, on _______________________, I submitted evidence that my child, ___________, has met the substitute assessment requirements for the __________________ EOC. I asked the district to notate that she had met graduation requirements. As I understand it, you are refusing to accept the scores on the basis that an amendment to a rule has been proposed, but not adopted, to be effective, if adopted, at a date in the future, which follows the date on which the required substitute assessment scores were submitted to you.

In simple terms, the district is refusing to follow the current law on the basis that a proposed law with different requirements may go into effect in the future. It is pitiably sad that an educator would need to be reminded that the United States Constitution specifically prohibits the passage of ex post facto laws. Likewise, the Education Code contains no authority for the commissioner to unilaterally suspend the duly promulgated regulations to the injury of students enrolled in Texas public schools. Nor does the rule of law permit any governmental entity to disregard current law in hopes that a future law they like better will be adopted.

Be advised that any student submitting qualifying scores under the currently existing law has satisfied the EOC requirements for whatever qualifying assessment they have met substitute assessment standards. ________ ISD needs to follow the rule of law and record the scores as meeting the requirements under the law. Later passed regulations cannot revoke this status and survive constitutional scrutiny.

We do not live in a dictatorship. Our appointed leaders may not suspend the law at their own whims. If a rule change occurs, you may apply the rule on a going forward basis to scores submitted after the effective date. However, refusing to execute existing law in anticipation of a potential future change in the law is not within your discretion, the discretion of ________ ISD, or the discretion of Commissioner Morath.

Please confirm to me that ________ ISD will follow the law that exists today, and not memos about potential future changes in the law.

Sincerely,


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scott.placek
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Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:34 pm

Here is a TEA powerpoint slide where they SPECIFICALLY TELL THE DISTRICTS this policy/requirement is not in effect yet!

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diane.thorpe
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Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:17 pm

I am attempting to submit a substitute assessment score for the Algebra I EOC for my freshman in Azle ISD. I received these responses from the high school testing coordinator and was forwarded a response from the Region 11 Testing Coordinator, which are below:
Response from Azle High School Testing Coordinator:
On Thursday, January 23, 2020, 12:56:20 PM CST, Laurie Wheeler <lwheeler@azleisd.net> wrote:

The state has changed the use of substitute assessment. Students must take the STAAR once before a substitute assessment can be used. I will be forwarding you correspondence from Elizabeth Schrader, Regional Testing Coordinator, Education Service Center XI.

Laurie Wheeler
Student Services Counselor
Azle High School
817-444-5555 ext. 2031


Response forwarded from Region 11 Testing Coordinator:
Hello,

As of this school year, the student is required to take the STAAR EOC assessment at least once prior to using a substitute assessment. This change is based on the fact that the U.S. Department of Education will not accept substitute assessments for federal accountability purposes, because those substitute assessments do not meeting USDE’s state assessment requirements. As indicated in the communication linked below, “Beginning with the December 2019 and spring 2020 STAAR EOC administrations, substitute assessments will no longer be included in accountability calculations. During the upcoming year, the agency will amend TAC §101.4002 as appropriate and remove references to the inclusion of substitute assessments in accountability during the adoption of the 2020 Accountability Manual.”

Discontinuing Use of Substitute Assessments in Future Accountability Cycles".
(https://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/News_an ... ity_Cycles)

Previously, if a student met the required threshold on a substitute assessment, they would wholly be exempted from taking the applicable assessment altogether. The USDE has ruled against this practice; therefore, the student is required to take the EOC assessment (which meets USDE state assessment requirements) at least once prior to using a substitute assessment. Again, we will be updating the substitute assessment rules this year to reflect the recent policy change.

Note: Sitting for, attempting, taking, etc. all require the answer document to be marked “S” for score.

Elizabeth Schrader, M.Ed.
Regional Testing Coordinator
Accountability/DRC
Education Service Center Region 11
Phone: (817) 740-7504
Fax: (817) 740-3608
eschrader@esc11.net
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I am composing another e-mail using much of the proposed response above. Any additional advice?
Thank you.
Diane Thorpe
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scott.placek
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Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:07 pm

Diane,

My post above directly addresses their improper reliance on a law that has not been enacted yet. Have you submitted the scores and gotten this as a response or just asked about it?
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