EK(LOCAL) - TESTING PROGRAMS
Local Achievement Testing
All students in grades 1–12, except students exempted in accordance with state or federal guidelines, shall be assessed annually on norm-referenced and/or criterion-referenced achievement tests.
The tests shall measure performance in one or more of the following subject areas: language arts (including reading), mathematics, science, and social studies, and shall be used to:
Inform students and parents of the students' academic progress and mastery of the curriculum;
Make decisions about promotion/retention and educational programs for students;
Plan instruction in the classroom;
Set and evaluate campus-level achievement objectives;
Evaluate performance of administrators and teachers; and
Assess secondary students in course content and include performance in the grade reporting system for all courses in which the state has end-of-course tests and for other courses identified by the District.
Certain instructional programs may require additional achievement, ability, or language testing. Special testing shall meet one or more of the following criteria:
Be required by state or federal law or guidelines;
Be required as part of a District-approved evaluation plan;
Be approved by the assessment review committee;
Be required for admission into special instructional programs; or
Be required as part of the District- or campus-approved activities of a program.
A parent or guardian who elects not to allow their child to participate in state-mandated assessments shall complete and submit to the principal a "State Assessments Non-Participation Form" acknowledging the possible implications of such action. This form is not considered to be an authorization for a test exemption request.
If a student is present during the state test administration and chooses not to test, a blank answer document—coded with an "S" for scored—shall be submitted for scoring as required by the state. The student shall receive a raw score of zero and the lowest possible scale score for the grade/subject.
If a student is absent during the entire state test administration, the student shall be marked absent. Such designation does not impact the school or the District regarding performance calculations, but shall impact participation rates on the test.
Additionally, the student shall be referred to the school-based grade placement committee (GPC) for an initial determination whether to move forward with promotion or require the student to receive additional instruction during summer school.
Any student who does not participate in state-mandated assessments at the request of their parent or guardian shall not be subject to negative consequences or disciplinary action.
All District personnel shall comply with the requirements specified in Texas Education Agency (TEA) test administration materials for state assessments and the guidelines outlined in this local policy for District assessment instruments, including the TEA and HISD Student Assessment Test Security Supplements.
Use of Cell Phones and Other Electronic Devices
The use of cell phones or any other unapproved electronic devices by students or test administrators in a testing environment shall not be permitted. Procedures regarding cell phones and other electronic devices such as smart watches during testing are as follows:
- Student cell phones and other unapproved electronic devices such as smart watches shall be collected by the test administrator prior to testing and shall be returned to the owners after testing has been completed for the day. Test administrators and campus personnel cell phones or unapproved electronic devices shall be turned off in any secured testing environment during the test administration.
- Use of a cell phone or any other unapproved electronic device such as smart watches during the administration of any test shall be regarded as cheating, and the student's test shall be invalidated (the test shall not be scored), with appropriate disciplinary action to follow.
- Campuses must post signs reminding students about the cell phone policy and other unapproved electronic devices such as smart watches prior to any District or state test administration.
- Prior to the start of the first major test administration in the spring, test administrators must read the "HISD Electronic Device Advisory Statement," included in the HISD Student Assessment Test Security Supplement, to all test participants. All students shall be required to sign the statement each school year.
- Details regarding the use of cell phones and other unapproved electronic devices such as smart watches are described in the HISD Student Assessment Test Security Supplement. [See FNCE series]
Initially devised by TEA to deter testing irregularities before they happen, the District Monitoring (DM) Program has been a major component of District testing security since 2005. The DM Program includes the following provisions:
All campuses shall be monitored, unannounced, at least once during a major test administration; and
"Prioritized campuses" (campuses with serious irregularities, previous investigations, recommendation of the Superintendent,and the like) shall be monitored for all testing windows.
District Test Monitors
The existing DM model shall use recruits from central office departments as follows:
In order to ensure a sufficient number of recruits to serve as test monitors, departments shall make available staff members with pay grades of 20 or higher.
All District monitors must receive the TEA-approved Test Security training, administered by Student Assessment, and sign an oath of test confidentiality annually.
Department heads may assign staff members to specific time slots during testing windows and shall ensure availability of substitutes in case of emergencies.
Teacher Test Assignment
A teacher shall not be assigned to administer major state tests to their own students in grades 3–12.
Teacher reassignment shall only apply to the following state test administrations:
- State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) English (grades 3–8) and Spanish versions (grades 3–5)
- State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness End-of-Course (EOC)
- Advanced Placement (AP) Exams
In special circumstances for which a student needs to be tested in an environment conducive to optimal performance with their teacher of record, a campus may complete and submit a "Teacher of Record Testing Request Form" to the District Student Assessment Department for documentation and approval.
This policy shall be effective as of the adoption date, June 19, 2019.