Everyone in the classroom should be accountable for the success of that classroom.

It’s such a core belief of ours that it’s one of our four policy priorities and a guiding principle of the work we do at Tennesseans for Student Success. Everyone, from teachers and students to administrators and superintendents, has to be accountable for success. That accountability doesn’t stop at a school’s front door – we must also ensure our elected and appointed state officials are accountable for student success.

Recently, after another round of challenges in TNReady, Commissioner McQueen released guidance for the use of this year’s assessment data. We wanted to share that with you:

  • Districts can decide whether TNReady data factors into students’ scores. If a district chooses to do so, then that cannot result in a lower final grade for a student. This means districts may include scores for some students and exclude scores for others, or a student may have TNReady scores included for some specific subject areas and not others.
  • Regarding school accountability, rather than issuing A-F grades, we will provide information on school performance based on the various indicators in our ESSA plan, but we will not publish an overall summative label. No adverse action will be taken against a school based on 2017-18 TNReady data. We will still name Reward and Priority schools, but no school will be identified as a Priority school using 2017-18 TNReady data.
  • We will still follow the Tennessee Teaching Evaluation Enhancement Act of 2015, which adjusted the growth component of teacher evaluation for a multi-year period, and we will provide educators with the best possible option for calculating their level of overall effectiveness (LOE). In addition, educators who have 2017-18 TNReady data included in their composite will have the ability to nullify their entire LOE score this year if they choose.

Hearing from frustrated teachers, parents, and administrators, elected officials spent the last few days of the session debating how best to handle TNReady this year. Tennesseans for Student Success understands the frustration found in our classrooms when we are all ready for an assessment that doesn’t work as expected.

The information students, teachers, and parents receive from a once-a-year assessment, and an assessment that aligns with the standards taught all year is critical. That data is how everyone in the classroom can make certain every child in the classroom is on the right track. As we move forward in thoughtful conversations with you, with our partners, and with our elected officials about how to protect the integrity of the assessment in the years to come, we will do so with the assessment’s value for every student in Tennessee in mind.