Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Kel Seliger, District 31

For Immediate Release
January 31, 2007
Contact: Christy Bertolino
(806) 374-8994

Senator Seliger Files Bill to End High School TAKS Testing

AUSTIN, Texas--Today, State Senator Kel Seliger filed Senate Bill 379 to eliminate the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test at the high school level and replace it with end-of-course exams based on the recommended curriculum. "I believe that too much classroom time is devoted to preparing for and taking the TAKS test. This is both an ineffective measure of what Texas students should be learning at each grade level and an ineffective accountability system for educators," said Seliger.

Seliger recognizes that valuable classroom time is wasted reviewing previous grade levels and course material, and too much emphasis is placed on test taking techniques. He considers this stressful for both teachers and students and believes it takes away from time that could be spent focusing on course curriculum.

Senate Bill 379 represents an attempt to move away from high-stakes testing and eliminate the undue focus on TAKS preparation. It requires an end-of-course exam to be administered in each course at the high school level in each of the four core subjects: math, science, social studies and English. Each exam would count for a portion of the student's overall course grade, to be determined by the district, and a cumulative mastery of each subject qualifies students for graduation in place of an exit exam. For purposes of graduation, a passing grade would be required for each subject as determined by averaging exam scores from the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades. Exams given in the senior year would only count toward the student's course grades for that level.

"I am encouraged by the positive feedback I have received from the education community on this framework, and I look forward to working with Senate Education Chair Florence Shapiro to replace our current system with one that incentivizes both teachers and students and produces an environment in which learning can thrive. She has led the process in developing a system that is better for schools, students and teachers," Seliger said.

Seliger was sworn in to the Texas Senate to serve the citizens of Senate District 31 on March 2, 2004 to complete the term of former Senator Teel Bivins of Amarillo. He was reelected to serve a full, four-year term on November 4, 2004. The district spans 26 counties from the Panhandle to the Permian Basin and includes Amarillo, Midland, Odessa and Big Spring.