TITLE 19. EDUCATION

PART 2. TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY

CHAPTER 74. CURRICULUM REQUIREMENTS

SUBCHAPTER AA. COMMISSIONER'S RULES ON COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS

19 TAC §74.1003

The Texas Education Agency adopts new §74.1003, concerning industry-based certifications for public school accountability. The new section is adopted with changes to the proposed text as published in the September 15, 2017, issue of the Texas Register (42 TexReg 4747). The adopted new section implements the requirements of the Texas Education Code (TEC), §39.053, as amended by House Bill (HB) 22, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017.

REASONED JUSTIFICATION. HB 22, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, amended the TEC, §39.053, to adopt a set of indicators to measure and evaluate school districts and campuses with respect to ensuring students attain the appropriate skills and learning to be prepared for success in subsequent grade levels and in entering the workforce, the military, or postsecondary education. For evaluating the performance of high school campuses and districts that include high school campuses, statute incorporates recognition of students who earn industry certifications under the student achievement domain of the academic accountability system and authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules to implement the academic accountability system.

Statute lacks a workable definition of what constitutes an industry certification. TEC, §28.025, authorizes performance acknowledgements on students' diplomas for those who earn industry certifications. In 19 TAC §74.14(e)(2)-(3), the State Board of Education has recognized certain attributes that qualify various attestations of achievement as recognized industry certifications. This ensures that the achievement represents the acquisition of foundational skills and learning to ensure meaningful educational attainment. This also fulfills the public education goal of preparing students for success in postsecondary endeavors, whether they are succeeding directly in the workplace or pursuing higher educational opportunities.

Similarly, the list of industry certifications in adopted new 19 TAC §74.1003 recognizes in the academic accountability system public schools that establish structures where students acquire the skills and learning needed for success in business and industry. In determining the list adopted as Figure: 19 TAC §74.1003, the commissioner considered the following factors:

1. State-, nationally-, or internationally-recognized: Recognition through a national or international business, an industry, a professional organization, a state agency, a government entity, or a state-based industry association.

2. End of Program: Represents a culmination of knowledge and skills achieved through completion of a program of study in a high school career and technical education program.

3. Stackable: Attainable by high school students and transfers seamlessly to postsecondary work through acceptance for credit or hours at an institution of higher education or to additional industry certifications and opportunities through acceptance by industry as a validated credential for workplace entry and advancement.

4. Valuable for Industry: Demonstrates the skills and abilities necessary to secure entry into high-skill occupations as demonstrated through attributes such as high-wage jobs with growth potential.

In response to public comments, the following changes were made at adoption to the list of industry-based certifications adopted in rule as Figure: 19 TAC §74.1003, dated December 2017.

Titles of various certifications were clarified, including updating the title for the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Core Curriculum certification and correcting the name of the National Healthcareer Association certifying entity.

The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) was added as a certifying entity for Certified EKG/ECG Technician, Certified Patient Care Technician, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician because after a thorough review, the NCCT standards align with those for the National Healthcareer Association.

The Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Air Conditioning certification and ASE Heating certification were combined into one as only one certification exists that encompasses both.

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS AND AGENCY RESPONSES. The public comment period on the proposal began September 15, 2017, and ended on October 16, 2017. Following is a summary of public comments received and corresponding agency responses regarding the proposal.

General Concern

Comment: Six district Career and Technical Education (CTE) coordinators expressed concern that the list disservices rural and underserved schools as the certifications and accompanying programs of study are expensive and cost prohibitive to smaller schools.

Comment: The Educate Midland executive director recommended that a few more industry-based certifications be added to the list that contribute to student readiness in a West Texas workforce. The executive director provided the example of Energy Technology, a certification locally offered in the Permian Basin area, which prepares students for careers in wind and petroleum engineering.

Comment: A district CTE director asked that local school districts and their respective business/industry partners be given the opportunity to identify certifications and licenses that reinforce the needs of the community.

Comment: An agriculture science instructor commented that accountability for CTE courses does not need to be measured by certifications. The instructor stated that the fallacy of certifications is in believing that certifications open the door to employability since a certification is not proof of a skill. The instructor also commented that forcing a teacher to sign off on a certification opens the door for future liability. In conclusion, the instructor commented that a more accurate reflection of accountability can be determined by local boards and administrators.

Comment: A district CTE director stated that the certification list is very limiting to districts that do not offer all sixteen career clusters, as well as to those districts that offer a good portion of the clusters. The director asked if the commissioner considered local and regional in-demand occupations that utilize the certifications on the proposed list, and if there is a list of industry certifications for performance acknowledgements aside from the proposed list. The director also commented that districts offer many other industry certifications than those on the certification list that do represent a culmination of knowledge and skills at the end of a CTE course listed in 19 TAC Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements.

Agency Response: The agency provides the following clarification. As the agency engages in an annual vetting process of the list of certifications, rural districts and industries, specifically, will be asked to help identify certifications of value that align with industry demand within these regions. The agency does not have the authority to define criteria for industry certifications eligible for student performance acknowledgements. It is the responsibility of the district to apply the definition adopted by the State Board of Education in determining what qualifies as a certification for performance acknowledgments. The industry certifications eligible for student performance acknowledgements may or may not include certifications on the list for accountability.

Comment: Sixty-six district CTE coordinators, directors, and educators expressed concern that the list of industry certifications is the only measure of accountability that schools are being held to in terms of career preparation and CTE. The commenters asked that additional considerations be taken into account for the purposes of College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR) within the school accountability system. The commenters' suggestions included association in professional student organizations (CTSOs), work-based learning programs, and CTE sequences of courses. The commenters expressed concern that industry certifications are only one small part of CTE and career preparation and stated that the agency should consider additional measures for accountability purposes.

Comment: A school district employee stated that using industry certifications to evaluate CTE programs has not taken into consideration that many students are placed in CTE courses and noted that this practice creates a different classroom climate as well as safety issues. The commenter asked that the Texas Education Agency gain a clearer perspective by contacting classroom teachers since using the list of industry certifications as the only measure of accountability could ultimately be detrimental to Title 1 schools.

Agency Response: The agency provides the following clarification. The list of industry-based certifications is only one measure of accountability within the Student Achievement Domain of the new A-F accountability system. Additional measures of college and career readiness are being reviewed and considered by the commissioner as the agency works toward implementing the legislation in House Bill 22, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017.

Comment: A district career preparation coordinator asked for clarifying information about how calculations will be made for industry certifications in accountability.

Agency Response: The agency provides the following clarification. The methodology for the calculation of CCMR for accountability purposes will be included in the state accountability manual, which is adopted in rule under 19 TAC §97.1001, Accountability Rating System. The Student Achievement domain is CCMR combined with STAAR and graduation rates. The way that each component is weighted is yet to be determined. For further information about this calculation, including the current proposal, please visit the following webpages: https://tea.texas.gov/perfreport/resources/index.html and https://tea.texas.gov/2018AccountabilityDevelopment/.

Comment: Nineteen district representatives expressed confusion over why the state has developed a different list for state accountability than the Perkins list that is compiled for federal accountability. The representatives requested that the agency use the same list that is used for the Perkins Program Effectiveness Report for state accountability purposes.

Agency Response: The agency agrees that the Perkins federal accountability list does differ from the current state accountability list. The agency will consider the suggestion of combining both lists in the future through the annual vetting process.

Comment: An industrial arts teacher suggested that teachers should get back to teaching the skills and trades that students need and stop placing more emphasis on the certification than the skill or trade itself. The teacher stated three concerns: certification has been promoted as a way for the school district to gain money, teachers pressured to certify students may not hold all students to the same standard, and the emphasis on certifications will send CTE classes down the same path as the tested core classes. In conclusion, the teacher commented that a student with a certification still must take a test to get a job; the expectation is that the student will pass.

Agency Response: The agency provides the following clarification. The goal of identifying industry certifications of value is to ensure alignment between the skills and knowledge students need for the future workforce and the certifications attained.

Comment: A university professor stated that the certification list is exclusive, rather than inclusive, and does not provide a realistic set of certification options. The professor noted that the list only includes three certifications for the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources cluster and stated that if a more extensive list of options is not used for evaluating the programs in this cluster, alternate methods of program evaluation should be made available.

Agency Response: The agency provides the following clarification. The agency will continue work to identify industry-based certifications that are aligned with industry demand within as many career clusters as possible through the annual vetting process.

Comment: A district CTE director commented that a capstone is necessary to ensure that the level of rigor in CTE programs meets the needs of the industry. However, the director expressed concern with the limited list of certifications. The director stated that the list does not have as a minimum the Perkins Effectiveness report certifications let alone certifications like Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or Food Handlers, which may not be capstones, but will make students entering the workforce more work ready as they are industry standards. In conclusion, the director asked TEA to at least use the Perkins report if not a local "high demand occupation" certification list to ensure that students are succeeding directly in the workplace.

Agency Response: The agency provides the following clarification. The end-of-program criteria for the list of certifications is representative of the capstone requirement in ensuring a strong level of rigor that meets the needs of industry. The agency will continue work to identify industry-based certifications that are capstones for CTE programs and that are aligned with industry demand within career clusters through the annual vetting process.

Certification Clarification

Comment: An instructional coordinator asked for clarification about why the Registered Dental Assistant certification is not included on the list, yet the Certified Dental Assistant certification is included. The coordinator noted his understanding that a student needed the Registered Dental Assistant certification in order to practice in Texas.

Agency Response: The agency provides the following clarification. The agency will continue to engage in research about the various dental assistant certifications in Texas. For the current list, the agency determined that the Certified Dental Assistant certification met the outlined criteria as it requires a combination of education and/or experience requirements established by the Dental Assistant National Board (DANB).

Comment: Two districts requested clarity about the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) student certifications being included on the list. The districts asked if the agency is requiring the student certifications or the professional certifications through ASE.

Agency Response: The agency provides the following clarification. The ASE certifications listed include the student level certifications, not the professional level certifications.

Comment: A CTE instructor asked that the Safety and Pollution Prevention (SP2) certification be added to the list. The instructor also commented on ASE certifications.

Agency Response: The agency disagrees. The SP2 certification does not meet the definition of industry-based certifications that the commissioner used in identifying certifications for inclusion on the final list. The ASE certifications are already included on the list.

Comment: An automotive education consultant specializing in National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation/ASE Accreditation pointed out that ASE has only one certification for air conditioning and heating. The consultant noted that on the proposed list, it appears that they are separate certifications, #2 ASE Air Conditioning and #9 ASE Heating.

Agency Response: The agency agrees and has modified the list at adoption. In Figure: 19 TAC §74.1003, dated December 2017, this ASE student certification exam is entry #9, titled ASE Heating and A/C (A7). The separate entry #2 ASE Air Conditioning certification on the proposed list dated August 2017 has been removed.

Request for Additional Certifications

Comment: A construction trades teacher requested that the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Core Curriculum certification be added to the list.

Agency Response: The agency agrees. The NCCER Core certification was already included on the proposed list dated August 2017. The agency has modified the list at adoption to reflect the full name, NCCER Core Curriculum, as part of the title of entry #54.

Comment: Two district CTE directors commented that nontraditional enrollment is a high priority for CTE, but the certification list is very slanted toward male students. One director asked why Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) did not make the list since many healthcare professionals consider CMA to be the same as Certified Patient Technician (CPT). The other director noted that the list is limited in scope and offered other certifications that would make students from a small school more marketable, such as OSHA, ServSafe, Manage First, CPR, and Texas State Florists' Association's Level 1 Floral Design.

Comment: One district superintendent asked for the NCCER OSHA certification to be added to the list of approved industry certifications.

Comment: Six district CTE coordinators asked that the agency consider adding the Adobe certifications to the list of approved industry certifications.

Comment: Two district administrators asked that the agency consider adding criminal justice, law enforcement, and the 911 certifications to the list.

Comment: Eight district educators asked that a variety of food service certifications be added to the list. The educators' suggestions for consideration include the Safeway Food Service certification, ServSafe Food Handler, ServSafe Manager, ServSafe Allergen, ServSafe Food Protection, and Texas Food Manager.

Comment: Two district CTE directors, one automotive consultant, and one sales manager asked that the collision and repair industry, I-CAR, certifications be re-added to the list of certifications, as they were removed from the original draft list that was published in January 2017.

Comment: Six district CTE representatives expressed concern over the inclusion of expert level Microsoft certifications and asked that the agency consider adding entry level Microsoft certifications that are necessary in order to achieve the expert level certifications on the list.

Comment: A business information management teacher requested that the Express Employment Professionals Business Office Technology certification (2013) from iCEV be added to the list.

Comment: A science teacher commented that Autodesk Inventor Certified User (ACU), Autodesk AutoCAD Certified User, and Autodesk Revit Architecture Certified User had been removed from the list. The teacher noted that these certifications are an industry standard in computer-aided drafting, and more importantly, the software is free. The teacher also stated that the only other CAD certification for accountability is through SolidWorks, which charges a steep yearly fee for their software. The teacher concluded by stating that this expense puts all small schools at a disadvantage.

Comment: Six district educators and one Vice President of Community Engagement at National Academy Foundation (NAF) requested that the NAFTrack certification be included on the final list.

Comment: The Industry Education and Certifications Director for the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association (TNLA) requested that the Texas Certified Nursery Professional (TCNP) program be added to the list.

Comment: A teacher commented that the only certification for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students on the list is Certified SolidWorks Associate (CSWA) even though there are many other 3D imaging software programs available. The teacher also requested that the Hunters Education certification, which is required in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, be added to the list.

Comment: An instructional programs director requested that the Texas Paraprofessional certificate be added to the list.

Comment: A PetroEd representative and a school district director proposed that RigPass®, an industry-wide standard certification from the oil and gas industry, be included in the rule.

Agency Response: The agency disagrees. The certifications identified by these commenters did not meet the definition of industry-based certifications that the commissioner used in identifying certifications for inclusion on the final list. The agency will continue to review proposed certifications and investigate if they meet required criteria for inclusion in the future through the annual vetting process.

Comment: Twenty-one floral industry representatives, including floral business owners and Floral Association representatives, commented about the need to include the Level 1 Floral Design certification on the list of industry-based certifications. These representatives commented on the need to have trained students to enter the floral business and that the Level 1 certification is important for a floral design career path. These representatives asked TEA to consider adding this certification to the list.

Agency Response: The agency disagrees. The Floral Design certification was thoroughly reviewed for inclusion in the final list for accountability, but the agency determined that it did not meet criteria for inclusion as there is a lack of data that supports the demand and value of this certification within growing industries. The agency will continue to investigate how this certification leads to high-wage, high-demand jobs and industries.

Comment: Nine district educators and CTE coordinators submitted lengthy lists of suggested certifications to be added, without justification for inclusion of certifications and how they meet criteria.

Agency Response: The agency disagrees. Without supporting documentation and justification as to how the certification aligns with the commissioner's criteria, including industry demand and growth opportunities, the agency is unable to make a determination about whether the certifications warrant inclusion on the adopted list.

Certifying Entity Clarification

Comment: An education service center education specialist asked if schools must use the authorizing industry listed for the certification to get credit in the accountability system. The specialist noted, for example, there are three different organizations that offer accredited certifications in phlebotomy technician but they are not included on the accountability list. The specialist also noted that both National Healthcare Association and National Health Career Association are on the proposed list, but asked if this might be a typo.

Agency Response: The agency provides the following clarification. Districts must use the authorizing industries listed for the certification on the list adopted as Figure: 19 TAC §74.1003, dated December 2017, for recognition in the public school accountability system for the 2017-2018 school year. In addition, the agency has corrected the certifying entity that was incorrectly listed as the National Healthcare Association and the National Health Career Association to reflect the National Healthcareer Association.

Comment: An interdisciplinary instructional coach commented that her students receive a certification that is equivalent to Comp TIA A+ through PC Pro. The commenter asked that this vendor be added to the list.

Agency Response: The agency disagrees. The agency does not currently have sufficient information about PC Pro to make a determination about inclusion at this time. The agency will continue to investigate vendors to determine standards of certification.

Comment: A vice president at the National Center for Competency Testing as well as 16 individuals requested the addition of the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) as an approved certifying official for three certifications (in addition to NHA)- the Phlebotomy certification, EKG/ECG certification, and Certified Patient Care Technician.

Agency Response: The agency agrees. After a thorough review of the exam requirements, the agency determined that the NCCT standards for certification are aligned with the standards of the NHA certifications and the list adopted as Figure: 19 TAC §74.1003, dated December 2017, has been updated to include NCCT as an approved certifying official for the three certifications.

Comment: A district representative commented that there is a lack of recognized certifications for the Family and Consumer Science Career Cluster and that this will impact school districts being able to continue offering these classes. The representative expressed concern that districts will put more emphasis on CTE Clusters that have certifications attached to them and phase out the clusters that do not.

Agency Response: The agency provides the following clarification. While current Family and Consumer Science career cluster certifications did not meet the commissioner's criteria for inclusion, the agency agrees that local programs should continue to offer certifications that meet their needs and are aligned with industry demand.

Comment: The president and a vice president of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and 15 area school districts, including Alamo Heights, East Central, Edgewood, Fort Sam Houston, Harlandale, Judson, Lackland, North East, Northside, Randolph Field, San Antonio, Schertz-Cibolo-University City, South San Antonio, Southside, and Southwest, requested that the state list of industry certifications mirror the list under federal law. Moreover, the commenters proposed that 49 certifications be added because of the lack of flexibility for local industry needs in the list and an exclusion of various industry certifications focused on safety. The commenters also shared that the list does not encompass various certifications that are valued by local industry partners, varies significantly from the approved list under the Perkins Program Effectiveness Report, unnecessarily creates two competing accountability systems, and prioritizes, perhaps mistakenly, those certifications that are of higher cost to the school districts.

Agency Response: The agency provides the following clarification. At the current time, the list adopted as Figure: 19 TAC §74.1003, dated December 2017, includes all certifications that meet the criteria outlined by the commissioner. The agency will continue to investigate additional certifications through an annual vetting process that will include vetting through regional workforce development boards. Further, the agency appreciates the comment about certification costs and will consider how to support districts in offering certifications on the list in future years.

General Support

Comment: A health science teacher commented in support of the list of proposed certifications. The teacher stated that during the 2018-2019 school year, she plans to help each of her students obtain three of the Health Science certifications.

Agency Response: The agency agrees.

Comment: Three representatives from the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) commended the agency and Texas Legislature for acknowledging the importance of industry certifications and authorizing these high stakes exams to be a performance indicator for high school campuses and school districts.

Agency Response: The agency agrees.

Comment: A career preparation coordinator commented that the district was encouraged by the increase of industry certifications on the list of industry-based certifications. However, the coordinator asked if acknowledgements on students' diplomas will be enough to help them succeed in the workplace or pursue higher educational opportunities.

Agency Response: The agency has determined that the acquisition of skills and knowledge through completion of a program of study and subsequent certification exam will help indicate students' achievement of college and career readiness.

Comment: A district CTE director agreed that a workable definition for what constitutes a certification for accountability purposes needs to be defined and that the factors in considering the creation of a workable definition are valid, realistic, and quality guidelines. However, the director disagreed that there is no fiscal impact and included a spreadsheet noting costs of related certifications. The director also shared concern that some of the certifications on the list require students to have their high school diploma before sitting for the exam (i.e., Pharmacy Technician). In conclusion, the director offered two solutions: develop and implement pre-graduation testing options recognized by testing boards and/or industry and increase state education funding to cover testing costs.

Agency Response: The agency disagrees that a student must have a high school diploma before sitting for a certification exam listed in Figure: 19 TAC §74.1003. The agency investigated certifications that serve as capstones for CTE programs of study and that are attainable by high school students. The agency determined that all certifications included on the list meet this definition. The agency will continue to investigate potential costs associated with implementation of certification programs on the list for public school accountability.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY. The new section is adopted under the Texas Education Code (TEC), §39.001, as added by House Bill (HB) 22, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, which authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules to implement the state academic accountability system; and TEC, §39.053, as amended by HB 22, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, which authorizes the inclusion of industry certifications in the accountability system to recognize the performance of high school campuses and districts that include high school campuses for establishing educational programs where students earn industry certifications.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE. The new section implements the Texas Education Code, §39.001, as added by House Bill (HB) 22, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017; and §39.053, as amended by HB 22, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017.

§74.1003.Industry-Based Certifications for Public School Accountability.

The list of certifications provided in this paragraph will be recognized for the purpose of accounting for students who earn industry certifications in the public school accountability system for the 2017-2018 school year.

Figure: 19 TAC §74.1003 (.pdf)

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 14, 2017.

TRD-201705171

Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez

Director, Rulemaking

Texas Education Agency

Effective date: January 3, 2018

Proposal publication date: September 15, 2017

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