TITLE 19. EDUCATION

PART 2. TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY

CHAPTER 89. ADAPTATIONS FOR SPECIAL POPULATIONS

SUBCHAPTER C. TEXAS CERTIFICATE OF HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY

19 TAC §89.42

The State Board of Education (SBOE) adopts an amendment to §89.42, concerning the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency. The amendment is adopted without changes to the proposed text as published in the October 14, 2016 issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 8164) and will not be republished. The section establishes provisions for official testing centers. The adopted amendment expands the entities eligible to serve as official paper-based testing centers and defines the requirements for paper-based testing centers.

REASONED JUSTIFICATION. At the September 2013 meeting, the board approved for second reading and final adoption proposed amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter C, Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency, to update the rules, including the expansion of eligible entities that may apply to become testing centers and a change in the fee structure.

Beginning in January 2014, all tests administered as part of the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency, with the exception of tests provided by correctional institutions, transitioned from paper-based tests to computer-based tests.

On January 5, 2015, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP). Responses were due to the TEA on February 17, 2015. At the April 2015 SBOE meeting, the TEA staff presented the results of the RFP. The SBOE requested that the TEA extend the existing provider's Memorandum of Understanding for six months beyond the expiration date and begin the development of a new RFP to potentially identify multiple test providers.

At the July 2015 meeting, the board approved a decision matrix of requirements to be included in a future RFP. During the September 2015 meeting, the board approved the competitive RFP to be released in fall 2015. On October 6, 2015, the TEA released a competitive RFP. Responses were due to the TEA on November 17, 2015.

On January 29, 2016, the board voted to award contracts to three separate companies to provide high school equivalency assessments in Texas. The three companies are Data Recognition Corporation, Educational Testing Service, and GED® Testing Service.

At the July 2016 meeting, the board approved for second reading and final adoption proposed amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter C, Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency, to update the rules, including provisions relating to official testing centers, test taker eligibility, accommodations for examinees with disabilities, and the issuance of high school equivalency certificates. In response to public comments on the proposed amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Subchapter C, the SBOE Committee on Instruction asked staff to present a future item that would authorize additional entities as paper-based testing centers.

The adopted amendment to 19 TAC §89.42 expands the entities eligible to serve as official paper-based testing centers and defines the requirements for paper-based testing centers.

The amendment was approved by the SBOE for first reading and filing authorization at its September 16, 2016 meeting and for second reading and final adoption at its November 18, 2016 meeting.

In accordance with the TEC, §7.102(f), the SBOE approved the amendment for adoption by a vote of two-thirds of its members to specify an effective date earlier than the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. The earlier effective date will allow the agency to increase flexibility for test takers as soon as possible.

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS AND RESPONSES. Following is a summary of the public comment received and the corresponding response regarding the proposed amendment to 19 TAC §89.42.

Comment. An individual commented that requiring a separate but attached registration and admission room is unnecessary and prevents certain facilities from being used.

Response. The requirement for a separate but attached registration and admission room is necessary in order to ensure that all testing centers maintain adequate and consistent test security.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY. The amendment is adopted under the Texas Education Code, §7.111, which requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules to develop and deliver high school equivalency examinations and provide for the administration of the examinations online.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE. The amendment implements the Texas Education Code, §7.111.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on December 5, 2016.

TRD-201606147

Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez

Director, Rulemaking

Texas Education Agency

Effective date: December 25, 2016

Proposal publication date: October 14, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 475-1497