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Texas the most taxing testing state for students

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

The way Texas is testing its schoolchildren is coming under scrutiny at the state Capitol.

On Tuesday, education committees are holding hearings in both the House and the Senate.

And one of the issues upon which they're expected to solicit testimony is the question of standardized tests.

"We're testing too much. Too much emphasis on high-stakes tests. Too many high-stakes tests," explained Dr. David Anthony, who runs a non-profit advocacy group called Raise Your Hand Texas." And we think that House Bill 5 addresses that issue."

According to Anthony, Texas currently requires 15 end-of-course examinations, more than any other state. And those tests must determine 15-percent of a student's final grade in the relevant subject.

"There's legitimate concern about the impact one test has on a student's grade for an entire year," Anthony said.

That concern made it to the Legislature last week, as a Friendswood ISD parent complained to senators that her daughter became ineligible for a distinguished diploma after scoring an 82 on an end-of-course Algebra exam. The cutoff point was 83.

"All of her achievements before, and all of her achievements after, don't matter," said Melissa Cooney. "Just this one point on this one test."

But measuring whether students are living up to standards is the whole point of testing, says Walter Sherwood, president of Pearson State Services, which creates the tests.

"Fact of the matter is, for these assessments -- not in all grades and subjects, but for some of them -- because they go towards graduation requirements, there's consequences," said Sherwood. "And those are there on purpose and as designed by law."

Texas is paying Pearson $468 million for five years of testing. But the company says the cost per exam is between $6 and $15 – far less than other standardized tests like the SAT.

Question is: will the Legislature soon decide it's time to put down the pencils? Perhaps, says David Anthony.

"Both in the Senate and the House, Republicans and Democrats, there is a sense of urgency for addressing the massive testing regimen in the state of Texas," Anthony added.

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