January 2014 Committee on Instruction Item 3

Discussion of the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency

January 30, 2014

COMMITTEE ON INSTRUCTION: DISCUSSION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: NO ACTION

SUMMARY:
This item provides the opportunity for staff to update the committee on the steps taken to continue to administer the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), ยง7.111.

EFFECTIVE DATE: None.

PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: The State Board of Education (SBOE) adopted 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter C, Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency, to be effective September 1, 1996. Sections 89.41, 89.44, 89.45, and 89.46 were last amended to be effective December 11, 2011. Sections 89.42, 89.43 and 89.47 were last amended to be effective October 10, 2013.

FUTURE ACTION EXPECTED: At the direction of the board, an action item will be presented at a subsequent SBOE meeting as necessary.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES: On March 15, 2011, the American Council on Education, a national organization of higher education institutions that develops the GED exams, partnered with Pearson and formed a jointly owned entity called GED Testing Service (GEDTS), LLC to create a new exam and a computer-based only administration of the exam. As a result, examinee fees have been standardized for the computer-based administration of the exams, automated scoring, and online registration systems. Test fees, which are currently established by testing centers, may increase as a result of the fee standardization.

In November 2011, the committee on instruction discussed proposed modifications of the current program. The board asked Texas Education Agency (TEA) staff to produce a Request for Information (RFI) to identify available options for the operation of the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency and report to the board the results of the RFI. At the November 2012, committee on instruction meeting, TEA staff presented the results of the RFI and provided information regarding the potential development of a new Texas High School Equivalency Examination. At that time the committee was informed that if Texas elected to develop an examination or select a vendor other than GEDTS, there was a strong possibility that a gap in services for examinees would occur. As a result, the committee directed TEA to continue its relationship with the GEDTS and not issue a request for proposals for a Texas High School Equivalency Examination.

In November 2012, the SBOE provided guidance to TEA to enter into a one-year agreement with GEDTS. The MOU between TEA and GEDTS ended December 31, 2013 but has been extended for another calendar year. GEDTS offered both paper-based testing (PBT) and computer-based testing (CBT) in the 2002 series through December 2013. Beginning in January 2014, the GED exam is offered only in the CBT format with exceptions being made for correctional institutions.

At the July 2013 meeting, the committee on instruction held a discussion on the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency. At the September 2013 meeting, the board approved for second reading and final adoption, proposed amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter C, Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency to update the rules including the expansion of eligible entities that may apply to become testing centers and the change in the fee structure. At the November 2013 meeting, the committee on instruction held a discussion on the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency and directed staff to begin working on a request for proposals to explore options for a high school equivalency examination to be used in the future.

FISCAL IMPACT: There may be business costs associated with issuing a request for proposals.

PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT: The discussion will provide an opportunity for the board to explore the most effective and efficient delivery of the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency.

PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS: Procedural and reporting implications will be determined once a request for proposals has been developed.

LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS: Locally maintained paperwork requirements will be assessed after a request for proposals has been developed.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: None.

ALTERNATIVES: None.

OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES: None.

Staff Members Responsible:
Monica Martinez, Associate Commissioner
Standards and Programs

Jan Lindsey, Deputy Director
Federal and State Education Policy

Stacy Avery, Manager
Federal and State Education Policy