While there is no specific grading scale used to determine whether a parole will be granted (other than the Parole Guidelines Score discussed in our book and in this article) there are a variety of factors which are considered by the voting members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole (TBPP).
First, and as we've mentioned before, an applicant for parole must remember that the Texas parole process does not work the way it does in the movies. There is no hearing where the potential parolee sits down with the people who will be voting and answers their questions. The vote is made by the members of the TBPP based solely on their review of their file.
It's clear one of the factors which is considered is any attempts the potential parolee has made during their incarceration to "better themselves". In many cases a condition of parole is that the parolee first take the GED classes and pass the GED test. Since this is done through the prison system, this should be documented in the file automatically. However, there are other classes that can be taken which will also award certificates of completion.
Some of these can be done through the church, and the best way to find those is by speaking to the pastor at the prison unit where the offender is incarcerated. Most of these programs are bible based studies, are short in duration, and with the completion of each section a certificate is awarded. As discussed in our book, How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet, these certificates can be included in the parole packet and demonstrate a willingness to learn and that at least some of the time spent "inside" was not wasted.
In addition, the teachers in the Texas Windham School District, the state funded school district run specifically for inmates, can provide additional materials for classes to be taken through the mail. The school district can be contacted at this website or the offender can speak to the teachers at the unit. Any classes they complete should provide a certificate and the materials can also be useful for the parole packet.
In addition to traditional classes, many prison units provide technical training such as HVAC, food preparation, and electronics repair. Even if the inmate doesn't plan on going into these fields taking the classes still demonstrates a willingness to reform as well as providing a job skill which the offender can fall back on if granted parole.
The main thing is that the inmate be able to present to the voting members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole evidence they didn't spend their time in prison just "waiting to get out" but instead embarked on a life plan to better themselves and their situation. This is the exact type of information which will assist the offender in receiving a vote to grant parole.