Houston Pathways Joins in HB5 College Course Efforts

December 2013 | Houston, Texas
BY: Amy Williams

With the passage of House Bill 5 and schools scrambling to create the college prep course content that will be offered to seniors in 2014-2015, Houston Pathways (HP) is now focusing its efforts on reaching more schools within the region so that a merge can occur. This will prove to be a huge advantage to these newly forming teams, as much of the work that has now become law has been a goal of the HP Vertical Alignment Teams since 2011. So far, Alief ISD and additional schools in the Spring Branch district have become a part of the HP.

The Houston Pathways Initiative was established in 2009 and is funded generously by the Houston Endowment, with Houston Community College as the fiscal agent. Houston Pathways works with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and became part of the Texas Pathways, directed by Ginger Gossman, along with Rio Grand, San Jacinto, El Paso and Alamo.

Houston Pathways has researched correlations between the college and career readiness standards (CCRS) and Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), to the college entrance exams COMPASS and ACCUPLACER.

After a year of data collection, HP launched interventions in 10 schools that would pretest students on COMPASS markers at the beginning of the semester. Then after a semester of college prepping, students would take a post-test. Over the last three consecutive spring semesters, students averaged an increase of 1.4 levels on college entrance exams.

Houston Pathways is now working on analyzing data gathered from the first rounds of the new Texas Success Assessment Initiative (TSI) to determine how the new ranking system corresponds with grades received during secondary education.

If you would like to join the Houston Pathways Initiative in developing the college prep course that will be offered to seniors beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, please contact Dr. Juan Reina and join in this regional effort. In addition, the Texas Pathways project partners are beginning work on this state mandate. Please visit their website for more information.