This post originally appeared on Reboot Illinois. To address concerns about where people can receive and train for jobs online, Reboot Illinois is launching an online survey.
What Tests Are Required To Be Given Online For A Learning Licence In Texas
Almost all students in Texas (99%) are required to take one online course each year, as part of a package that covers subjects ranging from U.S. history to STEM. And not all students, even those of Texas-born heritage, are entitled to take part in this online coursework. To further complicate matters, students must register for a course with an online school in order to take it, and state law forbids the city, county, or educational institute they attend from requiring them to register or subsidize the cost of the learning activity for which they are required to register.
But don’t be fooled by these differences between online and brick-and-mortar school courses. Students need to take multiple standardized tests in order to pass college entrance exams, and they’re eligible to receive their diploma in just four years, compared to 12.5 years in a physical school. As such, Texas students face numerous other requirements that are related to their participation in these online activities and their online school account, including their use of the OAKLAP eTextbook, participation in Microsoft Office Online and Linkedin, etc.
So, should I be registering for an online course in Texas or shouldn’t I?
The short answer is, yes, you should register. Registration is required by state law to take all online coursework, including the courses in which you have never taken an online course. By law, students can register for one online course per year with an online school in Texas. If you have never taken a course in Texas, you are legally prohibited from registering for any online coursework—unless you received your high school degree online or from a private online school in the state.
So, your school, or the school you attend, can’t test you for a learning license?
Texas law only requires students to register for a learning activity—not to take the course—and therefore does not provide you with the opportunity to test to see if you passed. However, the state does mandate that school districts administer the state-based Plan examinations for 9th and 10th grade students, along with the Portable Texas Plan, through their PSAT-CPA Competency-Based Assessment Initiative. This means that you will have a chance to take the one state-wide test to measure your learning, even if you have taken it before in other states.
So, how do I get my online learning license?
First and foremost, you need to contact your school or local district to obtain your online learning license, and check with your school’s level of participation in the online educational program you’re participating in. Texas is one of just four states, along with North Carolina, New York, and Colorado, to require that all Texas students take one online course each year in addition to their regular curriculum. According to the Lone Star Project, 90% of Texas students enrolled in the online education program are eligible to take one such online course per year. You can learn more about this requirement here.
And once you have your online learning license?
Once you have your online learning license, you can take whichever online course(s) you’d like to take that fall within the content area of any course that you’ve taken, as long as it falls within the low bar of what the state will consider a “valid” course. This means you could take courses that are not necessarily mandated by state law, for example, through your virtual school if you never completed them in the physical school. If you are concerned about passing the entrance exams, opt to take the state exams every two years. According to the Lone Star Project, only 0.1% of all Texas students who completed at least one course in Texas, and have passed the exams, were officially declared proficient in the 2015 test season, when just 30,231 students took the exams out of the 1.8 million students who enrolled in the online program.