If a high school student wants to take a substitute exam in lieu of an end-of-course (EOC) exam, they will likely have to take an EOC first.

During a recent work session, Sarah Fitzhugh, Lewisville ISD's director of assessment, updated the School Board on looming changes regarding waivers for EOC's.

Fitzhugh said the Texas Education Agency (TEA) submitted a waiver to the U.S. Department of Education about substitute assessments and were told the waiver was not granted.

Currently if a student receives a qualifying score on an accepted substitute assessment, the student does not have to take the EOC for the subject. SAT, ACT, Advanced Placement (AP) and Texas Success Initiative (TSI) are accepted substitute exams.

“As a result we will no longer be able to allow students to use substitute assessments in place of EOC's if the students haven't attempted the EOC at least once,” Fitzhugh said. “That's all verbal because the TEA plans to release that in a statement in January. So what we're looking at in terms of students is this fall students will be able to request to use a substitute assessment … in place of the EOC. But moving forward for the spring administration students will have to attempt the EOC one time.”

The district said in previous years many LISD students have been able to use their PSAT 8 scores in place of the English I and Algebra I EOCs that are generally taken as freshmen.  A substitute exam prevents students from having to take multiple assessments that measure similar data points, the district said. 

Fitzhugh said substitute assessments will no longer count in accountability.

“In previous years, substitute assessments counted as students Meeting Grade Level standard,” Fitzhugh said. “Many of our students have been able to use substitute assessment in lieu of the EOC and have their scores still reflected in accountability ratings.  These scores will no longer be included in ratings, so there could be an impact in future ratings depending on how the students perform on the state created EOC assessments.”

Superintendent Kevin Rogers said this change is another example of how students have to take multiple tests and that the district should continue to remind elected officials about that.

“They certainly need to take the PSAT, and yet that doesn't count in place of the EOC,” Rogers said. “So it's a ridiculous system that we need to continue to complain about.”

Fitzhugh said the district has called the TEA to voice its concerns, but she said the decision was made at the federal level.

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