November 2019 Committee on Instruction Item 5

Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency 

November 15, 2019

COMMITTEE ON INSTRUCTION: ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: ACTION

SUMMARY:  This item provides an opportunity for the committee and board to discuss the final extension to the test vendor contracts for the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency. The initial three-year contracts allowed for two one-year extensions. The first contract extension expires on August 31, 2020. The final extension would expire on August 31, 2021.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY:  Texas Education Code (TEC), §7.111.

TEC, §7.111, requires the State Board of Education (SBOE) to adopt rules to develop and deliver high school equivalency examinations and provide for the administration of the examinations online.
 
PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION:  The SBOE adopted 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter C, Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency, to be effective September 1, 1996. Rules in 19 TAC Subchapter C, were last amended to be effective December 25, 2016. 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND JUSTIFICATION:  In January 2015, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released a competitive request for proposals (RFP) to solicit proposals for a provider for the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency examination. At the April 2015 SBOE meeting, TEA staff presented the results of the RFP. The SBOE requested that TEA extend the existing provider’s Memorandum of Understanding for six months beyond the expiration date and begin the development of a new RFP to potentially identify multiple test providers.

At the July 2015 meeting, the committee held a public hearing. Additionally, at the July 2015 meeting, the board approved a decision matrix of requirements to be included in a future RFP. During the September 2015 meeting, the board approved the competitive RFP to be released in fall 2015. 

On January 29, 2016, the board voted to award contracts to three separate companies to provide high school equivalency assessments in Texas. The three companies are Data Recognition Corporation, Educational Testing Service, and GED Testing Service. On September 16, 2016, the board gave the chair authority to sign new contracts with vendors beginning October 8, 2016, or when the vendors were ready to provide services and staff and the board chair were confident the vendor was able to execute the terms of the Request for Proposals.

On November 18, 2016, the board approved expanding the entities eligible to serve as official paper-based testing centers and defined the requirements for paper-based testing centers.

On November 16, 2018 the board instructed staff to proceed with renewal of existing contracts.

On February 1, 2019, the board approved the contract renewal for GED Testing Service with no amendments and approved the contract renewal for Educational Testing Service with an amendment to increase pricing for certain tests and services. Data Recognition Corporation notified TEA that it did not wish to renew its contract which would expire on August 31, 2019.

FISCAL IMPACT:  None.

PUBLIC BENEFIT AND COST TO PERSONS:  Individuals will have access to appropriate examinations aligned to Texas standards in order to be able to earn a Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency.

MOTION TO BE CONSIDERED: The State Board of Education:

Provide approval for TEA to proceed with the Fiscal Year 2021 renewal of existing contracts with GED Testing Service and Educational Testing Service and to proceed with the competitive procurement process for a Fiscal Year 2022 award.

PUBLIC COMMENTS:  None.

Staff Members Responsible:
Monica Martinez, Associate Commissioner, Standards and Support Services
Cindee Tonnesen, Assistant Director, Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency, College, Career, and Military Preparation