Avant and Texas Credit-by-Exam (CBE)

In summer of 2017, Avant Assessment was approached by various district supervisors in Texas who wanted to use Avant’s standards-based language proficiency assessments to award credit-by-exam (CBE) in Texas. The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Languages Other Than English (LOTEs) regulations established that starting in the 2017-2018 year and subsequent years, all districts in Texas offering foreign language classes would have to adhere to the guidelines established in Chapter 114 of the Texas Administrative Code.

 Chapter 114 outlines the range of proficiency required of students in levels I – VII of foreign language courses, as well as exceptions that are made to the requirements depending on whether students have had prior formal education in the language and whether the language being assessed is a non-logographic language (i.e, Spanish, French, German, etc) or a logographic language (i.e, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Hebrew, Japanese, etc). Students with prior formal instruction in the language they are testing in need only score 70% or above in order to be awarded credit for a certain level, whereas students with no prior education in the language must attain 80% or more in order to earn credit for a given level. For non-logographic languages, all four skills (Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening) are required to be at the same proficiency range for a given level, whereas the requirements for Reading and Writing are lower than for Speaking and Listening for logographic languages.

 Figure 1 below shows the proficiency range required for levels I-IV of non-logographic languages across the four skills of Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking:

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Figure 1. Proficiency range requirements for levels I-IV of non-logographic languages

Some of the districts supervisors that approached Avant were interested merely in a pass/non-pass classification, whereas others also wanted the scores from Avant’s assessments to be aligned with the Texas letter grade system, shown in Figure 2 below: 

A: 90 - 100%

B: 80 - 89%

C: 75 – 79%

D: 70 – 74%

F: 0 – 69%

Figure 2. Texas letter grade system 

After several months of mathematical pondering, of very close readings of the TEKS documentation, as well as of many conversations with the district supervisors, Avant’s team of assessment experts developed the two official Avant matrices for TEKS for LOTEs in Texas; one for non-logographic languages and one for logographic languages. We call them the Avant – TEKS matrices. The version of the TEKS for LOTEs credit-by-exam matrices developed by Avant, as well as their accompanying software implementation in Excel that automatically calculates whether students have qualified for CBE credit or not, make it very easy for teachers, schools, and districts to use scores on Avant’s assessments to award CBE credit in Texas. Avant’s Excel implementation of our matrices will automatically display which TEKS CBE level(s) each student qualifies for given their STAMP or WorldSpeak scores across the four skills. Avant’s solution is fully aligned with the TEKS for LOTEs regulations and is in operational use across several districts in Texas.

To hear how Stephany Sipes (World Language Coordinator in PLANO ISD) has successfully used Avant’s STAMP 4S and WorldSpeak tests to recognize the language proficiency of hundreds of students in her district, click here. To see an example of our matrices for non-logographic and logographic languages, please see the documentation below or download it here.   

If you are a district supervisor of LOTEs and would like to know more about how Avant’s credit-by-exam solution can benefit your own district in Texas, we look forward to hearing from you. If you would like to discuss how Avant’s assessments can be used for credit-by-exam purposes in states other than Texas, we will be glad to discuss this with you as well.

Happy testing,

The Avant Team