House Bill 3 changes K-2 diagnostic tools

Before HB3, the law charged the commissioner with adopting a list of reading instruments from which school districts could choose to diagnose student reading development. Of these, only two were required to include multidimensional assessment tools.

HB3 requires the commissioner to adopt a single diagnostic instrument in kindergarten in order to determine kindergarten-readiness. The commissioner also will develop rules to determine the performance of the reading instrument.

This instrument must:

  • Be free to school districts
  • Be a multidimensional tool that tests at least three developmental skills, including language and literacy
  • Be administered at the beginning of the year
  • Enable teachers to provide a written report to families within 60 days of administration as to whether their student is kindergarten-ready or not kindergarten-ready.

The intent is to provide a consistent tool for measuring kindergarten readiness at the student, district, partnership and state level, something the present measuring system doesn’t do.

Stakeholders have asked that the adopted tool:

  • Be multidimensional
  • Be quick to implement
  • Be easy to administer
  • Provide immediate information
  • Recommend next steps
  • Have easy-to-use reports

A screener, Texas Kindergarten Entry Assessment (TX-KEA) is being designed. TX-KEA:

  • Is a multidimensional diagnostic of each child
  • Offers six domains: language, literacy, STEM, executive function and academic motor skills (only language and literacy would be required)
  • Includes multiple modes for administration and student response
  • Includes subtests in Spanish

Reading assessments for first and second grade also are affected by HB3. The new law requires the Texas Education Agency to offer a no-cost option that includes a universal screener for dyslexia in addition to the commissioner’s list of approved tools. This option will be TPRI/Tejas Lee. Training for its use as a dyslexia tool will be included in the reading academies.

Districts will have the option to adopt one alternative instrument for kindergarten and multiple alternatives for first and second grade, but for first and second graders they must be research-based and scientifically proven and adhere to the rubric requirements, per TEC 28.006. TEA will conduct a competitive process to name an alternate instrument for kindergarten and to identify other instruments to diagnose reading in grades one and two.