Implications of HB5 at the high school level
The historical, education accountability system has continued to evolve at both the state and federal level over the last 50 years in a pursuit to provide quality education for all students regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. With the most recent policy adoption of Texas House Bill 5 (HB5) for high school graduation requirements in 2012, policymakers were focused on moving to the next qualifying level of producing college and career ready graduates. The enactment of this policy sets expectations not only from an assessment accountability aspect, as seen historically, but also expands to include procedural steps for school improvement. This action research case study used data from three Title I high school campuses within one of the largest urban districts in the state of Texas to provide insight from populations most impacted by HB5. Through a pragmatic mixed-methods research, the findings highlighted the implications of the HB5 policy at the high school campus level and the emerging outcomes. The quantitative research underwent trend analysis to identify how HB5 has impacted college readiness as measured by SAT composite scores and graduation rates among first-time test takers. In addition, the qualitative method was utilized to determine how HB5 impacted three principals at the high school level in guiding their schools’ organizational structures, on-going planning and decision-making processes, and human resource changes.
The quantitative data revealed a slight decline in SAT composite scores after the transition to the new accountability system. Also, a gap in first-time test taker passing percentage rates and graduation rates from the TAKS exit test system to the new EOC accountability system appeared. The qualitative data from the principals revealed the three dominating themes of communication, focus, and relationships. The additional driving themes included change and responsibility. The final emerging theme was conflict between financial support and campus need at all three campuses. Implications and recommendations are provided.