While district and school TNReady and TVAAS scores were released today, there’s an ongoing battle of letters between some educators and policymakers suggesting a pause in TNReady due to a history of problems and those who suggest that our state’s assessment is the reason for so much recent success.
Chalkbeat has the story on 11 Directors of Schools suggesting the state push forward with TNReady and 18 legislators from Nashville and Memphis who support the letter sent by Directors in those districts calling for a pause while the state transitions to a new Governor and Education Commissioner.
“As members of the Tennessee General Assembly responsible for helping set policies and appropriate taxpayer funds for public education, we have been dismayed at the failed implementation of and wasted resources associated with a testing system that is universally considered — by any set of objective measures – to be a colossal failure,” said the letter, signed by legislators from Davidson and Shelby counties, where Nashville and Memphis are located.
Those who signed include: John Ray Clemmons, Bo Mitchell, Sherry Jones, Dwayne Thompson, Brenda Gilmore, Darren Jernigan, Antonio Parkinson, Jason Powell, Bill Beck, Mike Stewart, Barbara Ward Cooper, Larry Miller, G.A. Hardaway, Karen D. Camper, Harold Love, Johnnie Turner, Sara Kyle, and Joe Towns.
Meanwhile, a small group of Directors of Schools said:
“Test items and question types are directly linked to the standards and are pushing students to deeper critical thinking,” the email said. “The comprehensive accountability model holds schools and districts accountable for improved student performance…. Challenges remain, but together we must be positive as we continue the work.”
Superintendents from Maryville, Alcoa, Sevier, Johnson, Dyersburg, Loudon, Clinton, Marshall, McKenzie, Trousdale, and Lenoir signed the statement, which they said was also sent to McQueen.
Here’s a brief review of the last few years of testing in Tennessee.
2015 – TCAP tests (and quick score problems)
2016 — Online TNReady w/Measurement Inc. (disaster)
2017 — Paper TNReady with new vendor (Questar) — long delay before results are returned
2018 — Online TNReady II — this time, with dump trucks
How can you hold schools and districts accountable for improved student performance when you can’t consistently, reliably assess student performance?
What Dorsey Hopson, Shawn Joseph, and the group of lawmakers backing them are suggesting is simply to take a year to re-examine our testing program and take the necessary steps to get it right. All of them see some value in an annual assessment.
In fact, when addressing this issue and expressing his support for Hopson and Joseph, Maury County Director of Schools Chris Marczak indicated his support for moving to the ACT suite of assessments. Likewise, Wilson County Schools is seeking options that would allow the use of different assessments.
There may well be more letters as this discussion keeps moving.
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