Tennessee Education Report noted in a report Tuesday that school districts apparently have been informed by the Tennessee Department of Education that TNReady statewide testing scores for third, fourth, and fifth grade were incorrect for several schools and had to be rescored – but not in time to be counted toward students’ final grades.
“Sure, the state pays in excess of $100 million for the test and yes, teachers are evaluated based on the results, but the test is a colossal waste of time year after year after year,” wrote Andy Spears as he provided announcements from several districts about the failure of TNReady testing to contribute to students’ final grades.
Sumner County Schools reportedly wrote to parents:
Earlier this week, we were informed by the Tennessee Department of Education that the TNReady scores for third, fourth and fifth grade were incorrect for several elementary schools and were scored again by the state. The new scores were not returned before final report cards were sent home on Thursday. TNReady scores for grades 6-8 were received 3.5 school days before report cards were issued. State law requires TNReady testing to count a minimum of 15% of a student’s grade. School Board Policy 4.600 states that in the event of testing modifications by the state, such as a delay in scores being returned to the district, Sumner County Schools can waive the 15% TNReady grade. Due to this issue in testing, we will not include the TNReady score in your student’s final report card. Your student’s grade will be calculated by averaging the final grade from the first and second semester. In the fall, you will receive your child’s full TNReady scores.
Similarly, Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) said the district “will not be including the TCAP state standardized test results as part of students’ final grades this school year.”
“State law … requires that school districts include TCAP exam scores in the final spring semester grades if complete and usable scores are provided to the district within five instructional days before the end of the academic year,” MNPS continued, adding the district “has not yet received all of our students’ information, and therefore scores will not be included in grades this year.”
Turns Out, TNReady Still Isn’t https://t.co/SjX2j0cFvk
— TN Education Report (@TNEdReport) May 31, 2022
Spears observed the “millions” spent on the test itself, the “hours prepping for it,” and the “days” spent taking the exams.
“[A]nd then – NOTHING,” he wrote. “No score that is useful for grades, no return of data in a timely fashion.”
J.C. Bowman, executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, also noted in comments to The Tennessee Star, “High-stakes testing in Tennessee fails yet again.”
“When you lose confidence in results and the data is meaningless, what purpose does it serve?” Bowman asked. “The continued emphasis on testing misses the bigger issue: student academic growth measured by flawed testing. And then the results being used in educator evaluations. It is time to change direction.”
The Tennessee Department of Education describes TNReady as “a part of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) and is designed to assess true student understanding, not just basic memorization and test-taking skills. It is a way to assess what our students know and what we can do to help them succeed in the future.”
But Spears wrote, “TNReady has failed so often and in so many ways, the clown show is now just accepted as an annual rite of passage.”
“We’ll give the test because the state can’t imagine NOT testing every year and then we’ll fully expect there to be one or several problems,” he asserted. “A surprising TNReady year would be one in which there were no problems with administration AND the results came back on time.”
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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].