Why We Say “No” to Assessment Pause

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.

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