High school graduation requirements show promise for African American, Latino students

October 29, 2013, University of Texas at Austin

New high school graduation requirements in Texas will significantly affect academic achievement in the state, particularly for low-income students of color, according to a policy report released by the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis (IUPRA) at The University of Texas at Austin.

The report, led by IUPRA Policy Coordinator Victor O. Obaseki, raises important questions about House Bill 5, a package of major education reforms approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Rick Perry that overhauls graduation requirements and reduces the number of state tests that high school students must pass.

The new legislation avoids emphasizing testing over curriculum, an approach that widens the achievement gap among whites, Asians, Latinos and African Americans, says Obaseki.

According to the analysis, African American and Latino students fare worse on standardized tests than their white and Asian counterparts. In fact, the latest college readiness indicators of the Texas Education Agency show that just 8.1 percent of black students and 12.1 percent of Latino students in the class of 2011 were at or above criterion score on the SAT or ACT national college entrance exam. However, 40.6 percent of white students and 51.8 percent of Asian students reached the same benchmark.

"Crucially, HB 5 does not allow for national standardized exam scores to be a part of any of the new graduation plans designed by the State Board of Education," Obaseki says. "Fortunately, this decision keeps with the heart of the top 10 percent rule, which aims to focus on students' performance on school curriculum, not standardized exams, in order to diversify the state's flagship universities."

The report also highlights the potential benefits and disadvantages of the Charter School Expansion Bill (Senate Bill 2) approved this year, which opens the door to new . Obaseki points to data that indicate it remains unclear whether the likely increase in charter schools will lead to improved educational outcomes for students. Charter schools serve disproportionately high populations of students of color.

According to the latest TEA report comparing charter and traditional public schools, state exam passing rates for Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students were higher in all subjects in charter schools. African American students in charter schools fared better than their counterparts in traditional public schools in all subjects, except social studies, in which rates were the same.

However, Obaseki cites another study that shows that Texas who transferred from traditional public schools to charter schools achieved lower exam scores at certain grade levels.

"Because private entities run open-enrollment charter schools—with fewer regulations than traditional public schools—and receive state funding, the perennial question with the growth of charter schools is whether this type of school produces better educational outcomes than traditional ," Obaseki says.

Explore further: New study suggests charter schools may not systematically under-enroll students with special needs

More information: www.utexas.edu/cola/insts/iupr … rief_10.10_Final.pdf

Related Stories

Charter schools no cure-all for black students, says study

April 12, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Despite being promoted as a viable alternative to traditional public schools, privately owned charter schools in Texas have higher attrition rates for black students than comparable urban public schools, says ...

Recommended for you

Unprecedented study of Picasso's bronzes uncovers new details

February 17, 2018

Musee national Picasso-Paris and the Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU-ACCESS) have completed the first major material survey and study of the Musee national Picasso-Paris' ...

Humans will actually react pretty well to news of alien life

February 16, 2018

As humans reach out technologically to see if there are other life forms in the universe, one important question needs to be answered: When we make contact, how are we going to handle it? Will we feel threatened and react ...

Using Twitter to discover how language changes

February 16, 2018

Scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London, have studied more than 200 million Twitter messages to try and unravel the mystery of how language evolves and spreads.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (2) Oct 29, 2013
This move really helps out the political ostriches who, instead of having to bury their heads in the sand, can now comfort themselves with the knowledge that the test score trends they'd rather not hear about have been safely squirreled away underground like toxic waste.
1 / 5 (2) Nov 02, 2013
Gianni hit the nail square on the head!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.