July 2014 Committee on Instruction Item 3

Proposed Revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter C, Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency
(Second Reading and Final Adoption)

July 18, 2014

COMMITTEE ON INSTRUCTION: ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: ACTION

SUMMARY:
This item presents for second reading and final adoption proposed revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter C, Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency. The proposed revisions include amendment to 19 TAC §89.45, Retesting, repeal of 19 TAC §89.46, Examinees with Disabilities, and new 19 TAC §89.46, Accommodations. The proposed revisions would update rules for alignment with the current practice for retesting and accommodations. No changes are recommended since approved for first reading.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §7.111, as amended by House Bill (HB) 2058 and Senate Bill (SB) 1536, 83rd Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2013.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The proposed effective date of the proposed revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Subchapter C, is 20 days after filing as adopted with the Texas Register. Under TEC, §7.102(f), the State Board of Education (SBOE) must approve the rule actions at second reading and final adoption by a vote of two-thirds of its members to specify an effective date earlier than the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year. The earlier effective date is necessary in order to bring alignment to the rules in a timely manner.

PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: The SBOE adopted 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter C, Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency, effective September 1, 1996. Rules in 19 TAC Chapter 89, Subchapter C, were last amended effective December 11, 2011 and October 10, 2013.

At the April 2014 meeting, the SBOE approved the proposed revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter C, Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency, for first reading and filing authorization.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES: The current rules in 19 TAC Chapter 89, Subchapter C, provide for administration of high school equivalency testing and certification. The rules address testing center eligibility, test taker identification and eligibility, retesting, examinees with disabilities, and standard fees for the issuance of high school equivalency certificates and scores.

Revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Subchapter C, adopted by the SBOE in 2011 clarified and updated the rules by changing references to the General Educational Development (GED) examinations and the American Council on Education (ACE) to use the more general term "high school equivalency certification." The 2011 revisions also added a section for provision of an online test in accordance with the TEC, §7.111, as amended by SB 1094, 82nd Texas Legislature, 2011.

The SBOE adopted revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Subchapter C, in 2013 that expanded entities eligible to serve as testing centers, changed the fee structure, and repealed the section for online testing. The 2013 revisions also incorporated changes to transition from paper-based test (PBT) format to a computer-based test (CBT) format as of January 1, 2014.

During the recent statutorily required review of SBOE rules in 19 TAC Chapter 89, staff identified rules in Subchapter C that require updates for alignment with changes that were made with the 2011 and 2013 revisions.

The proposed revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Subchapter C, shown as Attachment II, would update the rules as follows.

Section 89.45, Retesting, would be amended to reflect current retesting practices. References to the GED test series and the ACE would be removed.

Section 89.46, Examinees with Disabilities, would be repealed. Current language in 19 TAC §89.46 reflects practices used in the PBT environment that are no longer applicable. Provisions relating to accommodations for applicants with documented disabilities would be addressed in proposed new 19 TAC §89.46, Accommodations

Proposed new §89.46, Accommodations, would reflect current practice regarding individuals requesting accommodations during testing for the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency. The proposed new rule would include provisions for reasonable and appropriate accommodations, the method of requesting accommodations, and types of information required when requesting an accommodation.

No changes are recommended since approved for first reading.

FISCAL IMPACT: The Texas Education Agency has determined that there are no additional costs to persons or entities required to comply with the proposed rule action. In addition, there is no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses and microbusinesses; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis, specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required.

PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT: The proposed revisions would update the Texas Administrative Code to help ensure that requirements are clearly defined for individuals testing for their Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency, testing centers, and the public.

PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS: The proposed rule actions would have no new procedural and reporting implications.

LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS: The proposed rule actions would have no locally maintained paperwork requirements.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: Following the April 2014 SBOE meeting, notice of the proposed revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter C, Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency, was filed with the Texas Register, initiating the official public comment period. No comments had been received at the time this item was prepared. A summary of any public comments received regarding the proposal will be provided to the SBOE during the July 2014 meeting.

ALTERNATIVES: None.

OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES: None.

MOTION TO BE CONSIDERED:  The State Board of Education:

By an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of the board, approve for second reading and final adoption the proposed revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter C, Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency, with an effective date of 20 days after filing as adopted with the Texas Register.

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

Jan Lindsey, Assistant Director
Federal and State Education Policy

Stacy Avery, Manager
Federal and State Education Policy

Attachments:
I. Statutory Citations (PDF, 17KB)
II. Text of Proposed Revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter C, Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency (PDF,18KB)