At least one school system in Tennessee is taking steps to move beyond TNReady. According to a story in the Wilson Post, Wilson County Schools is seeking legislative action that would allow them to choose and administer their own annual tests in place of the state-mandated TNReady.
Wilson County Director of Schools Dr. Donna Wright told county commissioners Monday the local school system is pursuing a private act from the state Legislature that would allow it to use an assessment other than the one currently mandated.
In her monthly report to the commission, Wright expressed her dissatisfaction with the TNReady test, saying that, “We are four years in without any or little actionable data that teachers can use.”
Wright added that while district leaders support accountability, the lack of timely, reliable data from the state tests is problematic:
“We are absolutely advocates of accountability because that’s how we know what to improve and where to improve,” Wright said adamantly. “But the fallacy in all this is that we haven’t had an effective system in four years, but we still keep using information that is not only in error, but late in coming.”
The action in Wilson County follows a resolution passed in Johnson City calling for a significant reduction in state-mandated testing.
The movement to reduce or replace TNReady follows yet another year of testing problems and a litany of excuses offered by the Department of Education and the state’s testing vendor.
Wright is correct that mishaps in testing and the late return of results call the usefulness of the data into question. However, even in the best of circumstances, it would be difficult to arrive at valid, actionable data based on the early years of a new test.
It will be interesting to see if other school systems follow the lead of Johnson City and Wilson County. Perhaps we’re finally seeing district leaders stand up and say “enough!”
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