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Benchmark 4: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

Purpose of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

The T-STEM academy shall provide a rigorous course of study that enables students to receive a high school diploma and complete industry certifications, work-based learning experiences, and/or early college credit during grades 9-12.

Design Elements

All T-STEM academies must implement and meet the following requirements:

  1. The T-STEM academy shall work with the local workforce development board to identify, create and maintain a list of high-demand occupations and programs of study that lead to these occupations to be used as a resource in creating structured pathways for students and updated as local needs change
  2. The T-STEM academy shall establish one or more STEM pathways, and plans are underway for sequencing additional courses for STEM studen Course pathways are informed by regional and state workforce and economic development needs and contribute to students earning credentials and certifications that prepare them for high-wage, high-demand, high-skill STEM fields
  3. The T-STEM academy shall provide a course of study that enables participating students the opportunity to complete high school graduation requirements and earn an industry certification or credential in a STEM focused field
    1. A four-year crosswalk must be in place detailing how students will progress toward this goal including alignment of high school and college level cour This crosswalk must provide pathways to a certification, an associate degree, and/or a bachelor’s degree and must follow the courses and fields of study listed in the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Lower Division Academic Course Guide Manual (ACGM) and/or the Workforce Education Course Manual (WECM). The campus may implement multiple dual enrollment delivery models such as:
      • College courses taught on the college or high school campus by college faculty
      • College courses taught on the high school campus or college campus by qualified high school faculty
      • College courses taught virtually, via distance/online/blended learning
  4. The T-STEM academy shall biannually implement a structured data review process designed to identify student strengths and weaknesses and develop individual instructional support plans
  5. The T-STEM academy shall provide a TSI assessment to students as early as possible (but not as a prerequisite to admissions)
    1. The T-STEM academy shall develop a plan for test preparations for TSI, SAT, and/or ACT success, including academic preparation classes for students, interventions for students who do not pass TSI, and assessment fee waivers for all administrations of the TSI
    2. The T-STEM academy shall review TSI, SAT, and ACT testing data, particularly the number/percentage of students who have currently passed each section of the TSI assessment, to ensure the T-STEM is on track to meeting outcomes-based measures
  6. The T-STEM academy shall provide support for students taking STEM courses preparing students to obtain industry certifications, licenses, etc.
  7. The T-STEM academy shall work with IHEs and business and industry partners to ensure curriculum alignment between high school, postsecondary and industry experience requirements


  1. All products shall be published on the T-STEM academy website and be made available to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) upon request.
  2. All products shall be maintained in accordance with local retention policy.


  1. Four-year crosswalk document
  2. Master schedule
  3. Curriculum alignment documents
  4. Testing calendar and schedule for TSI, ACT, and SAT
  5. Documentation detailing a minimum of three course of study examples that outline student pathways from high school, to associate degree, to industry certifications and beyond


CCRSM Crosswalk Guidance

Guide to ensure development of postsecondary offerings and alignment with high school programming at your campus.

STEM Teaching Learning Progression

This tool provides an overview of how educators can scaffold STEM teaching and learning experiences through a progression from the beginning stages of STEM learning to more complex implementation.

T-STEM Crosswalk

T-STEM Crosswalk to guide development of postsecondary offerings at your campus.

STEM Instructional Planning Guide

This instructional planning guide provides educators with best practices for developing STEM curricular units, lessons, and activities.

2020 Summit: College and Career Preparation Assessment

A session from the 2020 CCRSM Leadership Summit. Receive an introductory overview on industry-based certifications and college preparation assessments (SAT, ACT, and TSIA).

2020 Summit: Texas Programs of Study 101

A session from the 2020 CCRSM Leadership Summit. Learn how your school can strengthen pathways and CTE programing and receive a high-level overview of the TEA statewide programs of study.