The Tennessee Department of Education advised school district directors yesterday that TCAP “quick scores” would not be available this year in time to factor them in to final grades for students in grades 3-8. This left districts with a choice: delay the issuing of report cards until the scores are available “sometime this month” OR seek a waiver from state law mandating that TCAP scores count toward a student’s final grade.
Some districts issued statements explaining what the delay means for students.
And now, TEA is out with a statement on the matter. From the TEA press release:
The Tennessee Department of Education informed directors of schools that TCAP scores will not be available before the end of the school year, as is typically the case for calculation of students’ final grades. The state’s decision to delay the release of the scores has serious implications for students, families, teachers and administrators statewide.
“This delay is unacceptable and further illustrates the many consequences of making a one-time standardized test the be-all, end-all for our students and teachers,” said Gera Summerford, TEA president and Sevier County math teacher. “School districts being unable to calculate final grades creates a domino effect of problems for everyone from the local director of schools right down to the students.”
“Test-related anxiety and distrust are already high among students, parents and educators in our state because of Commissioner Huffman’s insistence on placing more and more weight on these tests,” Summerford continued. “The state cites a change in assessments this school year as the reason for the delay. Why are districts just now being informed about something that the department has known about for months?”
“If TCAP was used as a diagnostic tool, rather than as a punitive measure, our schools would not be in the absurd position of deciding whether to send students home without report cards or send home grades that may change once the state chooses to release the scores,” the TEA president said.
“Teachers face a tremendous challenge in providing the best education for all students, particularly when forced to spend so much time focused on standardized tests. The mishandling of this entire situation should be enough to cause legislators and communities to reevaluate, and correct, the ‘reform’ path the commissioner is leading our students down,” Summerford concluded.
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If we are going to test these children to death, we owe them the service of getting the results back to them. They have enough stress!
The issue that needs to be addressed is what is in the data that warranted such a decision to delay the release of the scores.
TCAP scores are invaluable tool to measure the progress of our students. It is also an invaluable tool in identifying which educators are effective in increasing student achievement.
The political spin that it is a punitive measure reflects the voice of the TEA, not all educators. The statement is inaccurate and misleading.
TVAAS score are a portion of a teacher’s evaluation. The TEAM evaluation is not punitive. The essence of the TEAM evaluation is to help develop teachers to become highly effective teachers by utilizing best practices and data to drive the decision making progress.
Please remember if children are not learning how can we call ourselves teachers/educators!
TN DOE had to not make the TCAP scores count toward the final grades of students once they allowed opt out students’ TCAP scores not count toward their final grade. This decision was inevitable to avoid lawsuits…..
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