A Microsoft Word version of this letter is available for download and PRINTING.
May 15, 2008
To the ADMINISTRATOR Addressed:
SUBJECT: The Requirements of HB 2237, Section 6
In 2007 members of the Texas Legislature recognized that the 2007-2008 class of Grade 8 students would be the first to fall under the grade advancement requirements of the Student Success Initiative. To assist districts in preparing all Grade 8 students to be successful on the Reading Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), the 80th Legislature through House Bill (HB) 2237, Section 6, provided for the statewide implementation of a reading assessment to be administered at the beginning of Grade 7 to students who did not demonstrate reading proficiency on the Grade 6 TAKS reading instrument.
In this case, the TAKS is used as a screening device to determine which students have difficulty in comprehending text. The Grade 7 diagnostic reading assessment focuses on the specific skill deficiencies students have in word analysis and fluency that are affecting their comprehension. The results of this assessment will provide diagnostic information that districts will use to offer reading intervention to these students based on their specific needs.
Beginning in the fall of 2008, districts will be required to:
To meet the first requirement, a school district may use the Texas Middle School Fluency Assessment (TMSFA) and/or an alternate diagnostic reading instrument that must be submitted to the agency for approval. Information regarding the TMSFA and the approval process are provided below.
Using state funds, the Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics (TIMES) at the University of Houston developed the TMSFA so that an instrument would be available for districts to use to meet this legislative requirement. The TMSFA is administered to students individually and measures their fluency in the oral reading of words and text and provides information regarding their understanding of the main idea.
The English Language Arts (ELA) Academy of the Texas Adolescent Literacy Academies (TALA) will provide training on the administration and use of the TMSFA. Because only Grade 6 teachers may attend the TALA ELA Academy this summer, the regional education service centers (ESCs) will conduct additional half-day sessions on the TMSFA in August and September for any middle school staff who will be involved in administering this assessment to Grade 7 students who did not meet the passing standard on the Grade 6 reading TAKS. For more information on these TMSFA sessions, please contact the TALA representative at your regional education service center.
Many school districts in Texas are currently using a diagnostic reading assessment with their middle school/junior high students. Districts may continue to use these alternate assessments (instead of or in addition to the TMSFA) with the specified Grade 7 students by completing the attached form and submitting it to the agency for approval. Directions for filling out the form are also enclosed.
District/campus personnel must complete the form and submit it with attachments to the agency electronically or via mail no later than August 1, 2008.
The commissioner’s rule regarding this assessment requirement will be posted soon. If you need additional information, please contact Dr. Muffet Livaudais in the Department of Standards and Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (512) 463-2717.
We look forward to working with your teachers to make a difference for Texas middle school students.
Sharon L. Jackson, Associate Commissioner
Attachment 1: Directions for Completing the Grade 7 Reading Assessment Process Form