As a few districts around the state push for a pause on TNReady while others look for ways to move beyond the test, the words of a teacher during the testing failure last year seem incredibly relevant:
I want all the things that the Tennessee Department of Education says that it wants from TNReady. But what I do not want is a test that disrupts learning instead of measuring it.
I don’t want to build my students up for a test that doesn’t happen when and how we’ve prepared for it to happen. I do not want to rush my students into a computer lab and be sure they’re all prepared only to sit and wait for 20 minutes to log in, or to end up leaving the lab without testing because the system is down.
I don’t want to start another sentence in my classroom with, “I know we were supposed to test today, but …”
I do not want to hear excuses or listen to anyone insist that these problems do not interfere with the validity of the results. I do not want these results factored into a number used to quantify my effect as a teacher.
But all of that has happened. I also understand that testing is federally mandated, and I agree that tests can provide important feedback. So here’s what I do want: A test that is reliable. A test that is developmentally appropriate in length and respectful of the instructional time students lose to testing. A test that provides timely and detailed data.
And I want my students to take that test, and for my colleagues and I to be held accountable for it, only once it’s actually, truly, ready.
As Governor Haslam continues his listening tour and the candidates for Governor move forward with their campaigns, the words of our teachers deserve attention.
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