April 2016 Committee of the Full Board Tuesday Item 3

Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency

April 8, 2016

COMMITTEE OF THE FULL BOARD: ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: ACTION

SUMMARY:
This item provides an opportunity for the board to make decisions regarding the transition to and implementation of multiple test providers for the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency.

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 11, 2011 and October 10, 2013. The draft Request for Proposals (RFP) was presented to the SBOE for approval at the September 2015 meeting.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES:
In November 2011, the committee discussed proposed modifications to the current high school equivalency 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 meeting, TEA staff presented the results of the RFI and provided information regarding the potential development of a new Texas High School Equivalency Examination. The committee requested that TEA continue its relationship with the GED® Testing Service and not issue an RFP for a Texas High School Equivalency Examination.

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.

In November 2013, the committee requested that TEA draft an RFP to solicit proposals for a provider for the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency examination.

In January 2014, the committee requested that TEA staff present information on the current practices of the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency examination. At the April and July 2014 meetings, TEA staff presented information on the current status of the program.

Beginning January 2014, all tests administered as part of the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency with the exception of tests provided by correctional institutions, transitioned from paper-based tests to computer-based tests.

On January 5, 2015, TEA released a competitive RFP. Responses were due to TEA on February 17, 2015. 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 October 6, 2015, TEA released the competitive RFP. Responses were due to TEA on November 17, 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.

FISCAL IMPACT: Selection of multiple test providers may result in a need for the agency to increase the administrative fee that is charged to test takers as a condition to the issuance of a high school equivalency certificate.

PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT: Individuals will have access to an appropriate examination(s) aligned to Texas standards in order to be able to earn a Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency.

PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS: None.

LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS: None.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: None.

ALTERNATIVES: None.

OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES: Proposed amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter C, Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency is presented for first reading and filing authorization as a separate item in this agenda.

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

Stacy Avery, Director
Texas Initiatives
Federal and State Education Policy

Attachment:

Statutory Citations (PDF, 33KB)