The following panel discussion took place at the end of the conference "Assessing Basic Skills in Higher Education," sponsored by National Evaluation Systems, Inc. (NES) and held in New Orleans in April 1988. Richard G. Allan, vice-president for instructional development at NES, served as moderator. Wilhelmina Delco, a member of the Texas House of Representatives; Robert Hardesty, then president of Southwest Texas State University; William Sanford, assistant commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; and Pamela Tackett, a program director for the Texas Education Agency, were the panelists. Joan Matthews, a director of the Texas Academic Skills Program of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, was asked to join the panelists during the question-and-answer session that followed the short presentations made by the panelists. Many of the comments made during the panel discussion reflected on more formal presentations given earlier in the conference. Those formal presentations served as the basis for the other chapters in Part One of this book.
Up until this point in the conference, most of the speakers have been presenting issues of broad concern, broad issues from a national perspective. What we are intending to do with the panel this afternoon is to take what has been pursued at the national level and talk about how these issues, concerns, and problems have been or are in the process of being translated into a particular basic skills entry- level testing program in Texas. Wilhelmina Delco will talk from a legislative standpoint of the specific piece of legislation that she wrote, why she wrote it, and what it is intended to do. She talked this morning on a more broad level. This afternoon she will be talking specifically about Texas. I would then like to have Bob Hardesty, who headed the Committee on Testing of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and basically did the research in Texas, speak on the form this program should take. He will talk to us about what kind of research they did, what they found, and what their recommendations were. In essence, this forms the bridge between what the legislation did and what the Higher Education Coordinating