Texas Counselors Concerned About Texas College Preparation Policies
The Greater Texas Foundation asked IDRA to conduct a qualitative study in 2019 and 2020 of school counselors to glean their insights into how policies are affecting students’ college readiness. While IDRA will publish final results of the study and policy recommendations in early 2021, IDRA released preliminary findings in late 2019 showing:
- Counselors say the new endorsement system intended to provide college or career pathways for students in reality are limiting students’ opportunities.
- Texas counselors do not have enough time to actually counsel with students, reporting that they instead spend 75% of their workday on testing and administrative duties. The American School Counselor Association recommends one counselor for every 250 students. The average in Texas is one counselor for every 442 students.
Learn more: School Counselors Express Concerns about College and Career Advising in Texas, May 29, 2019
Rural Districts Lose 24 Percent in Algebra II Enrollment
IDRA Ready Texas Study Examines Texas HB5 Graduation Requirements
In 2013, the 83rd Texas Legislature established the Foundation High School Program (HB5), which allows for significant local variation in graduation planning and represents one of the most substantial changes to Texas curricula in recent history. How these changes are implemented – and what this implies for students, families and schools – can have a deep impact on post-secondary preparation, access and completion, particularly for students now underrepresented in degree attainment.
Published in May 2018, IDRA’s Ready Texas: A Study of the Implementation of HB5 in Texas and funded by the Greater Texas Foundation provides education stakeholders critical and timely information about the implications of recent curriculum changes in the state on the college and career readiness of graduates. IDRA conducted a mixed methods study examining two research questions: Statewide, what districts characteristics are associated with indicators of postsecondary success? and How are educators, families, and students navigating the implementation of the new high school graduation requirements? The first question examines broad patterns across the state, while the second question provides a nuanced, qualitative look at the practices and experiences of the policy changes in a sample of six districts.
Phase I, Ready Texas: Stakeholder Convening, funded by the Greater Texas Foundation and led by IDRA and hosted with UT Austin, guided this study. A stakeholder survey, research scan and roundtable discussions, showed that, across sectors, leaders have concerns about HB5’s implications for post-secondary readiness, course-taking access, rigor and equitable pathways for underserved students (see Ready Texas: Stakeholder Convening Proceedings Report, 2016). Also, previous research shows a positive trend in post-secondary preparation prior to HB5.
This project also was guided by IDRA’s empirically-based Quality Schools Action Framework™ that recognizes the role that diverse stakeholders play in securing student high school graduation with the preparation to enroll and succeed in college, working around key “levers of change” (including actionable knowledge, accountable leadership, enlightened policymaking).
The findings from this study inform a wide array of education stakeholders on best practices; serve families and students through the expanded information on navigating course options and pathways; facilitate cross-sector collaboration that focuses on post-secondary quality and access (particularly among families, schools, and community); and contribute to the field by identifying directions for further study, and monitoring and assessment needs. In particular, this study seeks to inform the upcoming Texas legislative session through data analyses and recommendations, briefings, reports, and online tools.
See Infographic from IDRA’s initial Ready Texas study – IDRA study points to the troubling effects of the state’s new graduation requirements
See article outlining preliminary findings of IDRA’s Phase II Ready Texas study: School Counselors Express Concerns about College and Career Advising in Texas, by Hector Bojorquez
Classnotes Podcast Episodes
Ready Texas Study of New Graduation Requirements – Classnotes Podcast 178, In 2013, Texas lowered graduation requirements for math, science and social studies. Lead researcher, Hector Bojorquez, gives a preview of IDRA’s study on the impact and shares implications for potential similar changes in other states.
Why Algebra II? – Classnotes Podcast 133, Math educator, Paula Johnson, M.A., talks about why Algebra II is critical for all students and, particularly, for low-income and minority students who will undoubtedly suffer the consequences of being sidelined into watered-down, non-college prep courses.
Ready Texas: Stakeholder Convening Held in February 2016
The Ready Texas: Stakeholder Convening led by IDRA and carried out in partnership with UTeach at UT Austin, brought together education, community, policy, foundation, business and philanthropic leaders to discuss the future of post-secondary education in Texas and to provide input on the design of a statewide study of HB5 implementation. The convening was made possible through a grant from Greater Texas Foundation. The proceedings report captures highlights from the project.