I have three pieces of information to report for the State of Texas.
The State of Texas has required all developmental education programs to merge the highest-level developmental courses in reading and writing into a single course. There is also a proposal to discontinue the lowest level courses. At the present time, the state is proposing to no longer fund developmental classes for students performing below the high school level.
Effective Fall of 2013, all colleges must use the TSI Assessment offered by the College Board as the only assessment instrument for placement purposes. Unless exempt, students must take and receive a passing score before they can enroll in college-level classes. Cutoff scores to establish student readiness for entry-level freshman coursework are: Reading 351, Essay score of 5 or Essay score of 4 and multiple choice score of 363.
It is believed that students will reach this “college-ready” level with lower skill levels than was the case with previous cutoff levels on other placement tools used in the state. This will result in fewer students in developmental courses and a less-prepared student body in freshman-level courses. Professors in those college classes are expected to provide additional support within the course for these less-prepared students.
Texas House Bill 5 now requires school districts to partner with at least one institution of higher education to develop and provide college preparatory courses in English and math. A special course must be created for grade 12 students whose performance on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exam does not meet the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards. The bill mandates that high school and higher education faculty collaborate to ensure the course requirements are aligned with college readiness expectations. The course may be offered on the campus of the high school or as an online course offered by the higher education partner. The course will be taught by the high school teachers but must follow the curriculum established by the higher education partner. Students successfully completing the course will get credit for high school graduation. Determination of this success level will be made by the high school. A second, higher level standard will be set that, when met, will indicate college readiness. The college or university involved in the partnership will do the assessment regarding this standard.
Our developmental faculty believe these changes will reduce the number of students taking developmental courses substantially. Most will be mainstreamed into freshman composition classes. The lowest performing will be moved to adult basic education.