On August 8th we released this statement pushing back on calls to pause TNReady testing, and waded into the ongoing public debate on the challenges associated with the online administration that the state continues to face. With such a troubled roll out, why does the Coalition stand by the test? We choose to stand up because so much is at stake.
When we launched our Coalition in 2016, our inaugural members identified key policy priorities, including advocating for strong accountability systems as an essential lever for change. Accountability has been central to our advocacy since our inception. But accountability systems themselves don’t close gaps or improve achievement; only the hard work of educators and students can do that. And real change must begin with data systems that inform and drive innovation, instruction and resource allocation.
In August 2016 we publicly advocated for continued statewide testing as one measure of student and school success, and called for ambitious goals for student achievement–coupled with requiring action and providing supports and interventions when needed–to ensure all students have the opportunity to excel. We have engaged with the Tennessee Department of Education on a regular basis ever since, while also hosting meetings across the state and creating content to help Coalition members understand the accountability framework under ESSA, making sure their communities’ aspirations and experiences are heard. We remain engaged, advocating for the reporting of data under the Tennessee ESSA Plan to be transparent, accessible, and disaggregated by student group, and we will continue to equip Coalition members with the tools to understand and act upon this information as it is released.