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More on Tests for Texas Politicians

Since many folks seemed to like the story about the proposed testing
requirement for Texas legislators, here's a second installment

Fort Worth Star-Telegram
By Crystal Yednak

FORT WORTH -- Sharpen those No. 2 pencils, Senator.
State Rep. George "Buddy" West wants you to take a test.
West, a Republican from Odessa, is proposing a constitutional
amendment requiring all candidates for the Texas House and Senate to
pass the Texas Academic Skills Program, better known as the TASP test.
The TASP test is given to students entering state colleges and
universities to gauge their skill level in reading, writing and math.
Students who fail any part of the test must get remedial help.
West wrote the bill in response to complaints about overtesting, an
aide said.
"Kids are first faced with the TAAS. Then if they want to go to
college, they have to take the ACT or the SAT, and if they don't score
high enough on those they have to take the TASP," said Julie Williams,
legislative director for West.
"This is sending a message to the Legislature that there's a problem
here," she said.
She said West's constituents have raised concerns that the test is
not a proper measure of students' skills, forcing good students to take
remedial college courses.
West has also proposed legislation to do away with the TASP and to
create high school exams that will measure a student's readiness for
higher education as well as mastery of high school material.
West's proposal would require all legislative candidates to have
taken the TASP in the previous five years and done well enough to be
exempt from remedial college course work.
Legislators created the TASP test in 1987 to make sure students were
entering college with basic skills. Students who do well on the SAT or
the ACT college extrance exams or the Texas Assessment of Academic
Skills high school exit exam are exempt from the test.
News of the test proposal for lawmakers drew chuckles from college
admissions officers.
"The math part might be good for them ... for all the budgeting,"
said Rachel Johnson, registrar at Tarrant County College's South Campus.

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