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Action Required

November 1, 2000


Re: 19 TAC Chapter 74 Update, Curriculum Requirements

The State Board of Education approved amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements, at the July 2000 board meeting. The Committee on Instruction discussed its July action at the September meeting and decided to maintain the July revisions. In the Fall, the agency will distribute documents to promote the rigor of courses in the Recommended High School Program (RHSP) and the Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP), explain the rules on electives, and provide options for parents and students to consider in selecting electives.

The revised graduation requirements in Subchapter D reflect a more rigorous and relevant curriculum that will align with the new TAAS II, which was mandated during the 76th Texas Legislature in Senate Bill 103. Implementation of the new graduation plans is scheduled for September 1, 2001, and is required for the students entering ninth grade that year; however, school districts may choose to implement the revised graduation requirements for students who entered ninth grade prior to the 2001-2002 school year.

The Chapter 74 revisions will not change the number of credits required for graduation but will ensure that every student will have received instruction and the opportunity to learn in the areas that are to be assessed in the 11th grade TAAS II exit-level test to be administered in the 2002-2003 year. This TAAS II exit-level assessment will include:

English language arts, including at least English III and writing;
Mathematics, including at least Algebra I and geometry;
Social Studies, including early American history and United States history; and
Science, including at least biology and integrated chemistry and physics.

The minimum, RHSP, and DAP high school graduation programs will continue to be available for each high school student. Options I, II, and III have been eliminated in the RHSP and DAP programs to provide more flexibility for students and, at the same time, maintain the rigor of the core curriculum requirements. The revised curriculum requirements will add Geometry as a required mathematics course in the minimum plan. Two credits of science, consisting of Biology and Integrated Physics and Chemistry (IPC), will be required in the minimum plan; however, a student may also complete both chemistry and physics as substitutes for IPC and the academic elective. Additionally, Communication Applications will be the only course allowed to satisfy the speech requirement.

Please share the attached Chapter 74 revisions and charts with curriculum directors, administrators, counselors, and other appropriate leaders within your district. Thank you for all of your hard work for Texas students.

Sincerely yours,
Jim Nelson
Commissioner of Education 

A MS Word Version of this letter is available for download.  




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