EOC Knocks Out TAKS
End of Course (EOC) exams will replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) exams for the 2011-2012 freshman and classes to come. Graduating high school for these classes now depends upon passing the Algebra II and English III EOC exams, instead of the broadened versions of the subjects in the TAKS tests. Academic Associate Principal Christine Englert holds high hopes for the school’s success.
“I think that if it is going to be difficult, it will be because it is new to us,” Academic Principal Mrs. Chris Englert said. “I’m very hopeful that we will shine.”
The EOC exam tends to focus on a more class-specific view of the subject (i.e., an exam strictly over Algebra II, US History, etc) and manages to be more difficult, while the TAKS covered a broader assessment of the subject. Assistant Principal Kim Murphree knows the change will be challenging on the students, but believes they will pass.
“Since they’ve [the students] been tested in such a general way, the transition could be rough,” Mrs. Murphree said. “It will definitely be a learning experience.”
The EOC exams currently account for 15 percent of the students’ end-of-year course grade, however Mrs. Englert stated the Texas Commissioner has decided to make the 15 percent a district decision on whether it should be put into place or removed. If removed, the students’ overall course grade will be determined by semester grades, 50 percent for each. Doing so may impact course credit, GPA, class rank and UIL eligibility.
During the first year, EOC exams have the possibility of not counting against the student at all. A survey regarding the 15 percent deferral was sent out by Associate Superintendent Jim Vaszauskas for faculty, staff, and the community to participate in . The results of the survey were overwhelmingly in support of not including the exam results in the semester grade. On Feb. 28 the school board voted to defer the semester tie-in.
“This is definitely going to be an experiment year [for the EOC],” Mrs. Englert said. “Working up to the challenge of having TAKS and EOC in the same year was kind of intimidating, but the closer we get to it, the easier it seems.”
The teaching aspect of the EOC has changed some teachers’ ways of instructing classes. Sarah Martin attempts to bring life to her English I class by engaging her students in activities and videos, while sticking to the lesson at hand.
“No one likes to know they’re teaching to a test, so it is difficult,” Mrs. Martin said. “I like to make the class fun so it [becomes] easier.”
The English curriculum has changed by taking out some novels read over the year, and inputting new lessons the EOC covers and was not covered by TAKS.
“It is tough [taking out novels] because that’s how some English teachers form their curriculum,” Martin said.
Click here to view the 2012 testing calendar.