Region 1 Offers ELA HB5 Calibration Workshops

May 2015 | University of Texas - Pan American
BY: Shirley J. Mills and Amy Williams

Region 1 Education Service Center (ESC) and University of Texas – Pan American (UTPA), located in Edinburg, Texas, held two trainings focused on the English Language Arts (ELA) College Preparatory Course and House Bill 5 (HB5), entitled the HB5 Calibration Workshops on April 23, 2015, at Region One and May 9, 2015, at the Student Academic Center on the UTPA campus. These workshops aimed to serve all‎ ELA high school teachers that are currently teaching the ELA College Preparatory Course, as required by HB5. After successfully passing the ELA College Prep Class, students throughout the state of Texas are able to earn a college waiver to any institution of higher education in the region that they have earned the waiver.  In addition, they earn an exemption from the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) exam. The waivers are only honored for one year following their graduation from high school.
Dr. Andrew Hollinger, Lecturer of English at UTPA, conducted the April 23rd Region 1 workshop under the direction of Associate Professor of English, Dr. Colin Charlton. The training was open to Region 1 ELA educators, and approximately 22 teachers attended. Dr. Hollinger used student portfolio samples to demonstrate how to grade the final work samples provided by teachers.  There was unison agreement among attendees that this workshop was too early in the process, because students had not had the opportunity to complete their portfolios; however, teachers practiced evaluating partial portfolio work samples from teachers across the valley using the rubric created by the collaboration of professors who developed the objectives for the course.
Dr. Colin Charlton, author of the English Language Arts IBook from the University of Texas Pan American, developed the IBook based on the collaborative work of professors from the University of Texas Brownsville, Texas Southmost College, South Texas College, and Texas State Technical College in collaboration with the University of Texas Pan American English professors to develop the objectives using the Texas College Readiness Standards as a guide.  Dr. Charlton then developed the IBook to ensure that the ELA College Preparatory Class would be free to all high school districts.  His book can be found at
Dr. Charlton conducted the May 9th calibration workshop to assist teachers who were ready to begin grading student final samples from their portfolios.  This workshop was open to all high school English teachers from the Rio Grande Valley.  Stipends were provided by the Academic Vertical Alignment Training and Renewal (AVATAR) grant led by University of North Texas professors, Mary Harris and Jean Keller.  Thirty-seven high school teachers from across the Rio Grande Valley came to UTPA with a minimum of three portfolio student samples.  Teachers had to determine a high, medium, and low student performance based on the rubric developed by the collaboration of professors.  Dr. Charlton went through three examples of student portfolio work and described why each student sample fit in each category. High school teachers were very pleased with the workshop and over 15 teachers indicated an interest in serving on the summer team that will begin writing an Edition 2 of the IBook which will include student samples from portfolios developed over the past year and a timeline for teachers to follow to ensure students are college ready by the end of their senior year.

For questions, or to learn more information about the topics above, please contact Shirley Mills, associate professor at UTPA.