Coalition Says “No” to Assessment Pause
(Statement Released: Aug. 8, 2018)—The Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition recognizes the challenges associated with the administration of TNReady are a source of concern, and have created issues of trust between the State Department of Education and districts and communities. But hitting pause on testing is not the answer and sends a dangerous signal that the path forward is unclear, that the information we have will not suffice. District leaders have a unique platform to craft a vision and provide stability and direction. We need them at the table offering solutions more than ever.
Tennessee has made progress on a range of measures over the last ten years, but stubborn gaps in achievement and outcomes persist for students of color, and those living in poverty. That’s why when the Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition was formed in 2016 we identified accountability, including rigorous standards and aligned assessments, as a shared priority and focus of our advocacy at the state and local level. Our Coalition believes that the path forward lies in maintaining a focus on setting high expectations, monitoring student and school performance, and prompting decisive action when they fall and stay behind.
The quality of the TNReady assessment, which is aligned to our state standards, is not in question. Parents across Tennessee regularly report support for annual testing, and a plurality believe that we should keep TNReady, but that it must be fixed. Additionally, the majority of Tennessee’s teachers reported this spring that the state’s assessment is consistent with their own teaching goals and objectives, practices, and school’s educational goals.
The TNReady tests in grades 3–8 in both MNPS and Shelby County Schools were conducted this spring with paper and pencil, avoiding the challenges with online implementation that some students experienced at the high school level. These test results provide information that can and must be used to identify where students and schools need support, which strategies are working, and where we must align resources and interventions.
Our state has worked hard to ensure that our standards, instructional practices, and assessments are aligned for student success. We urge all of our education leaders and policymakers to press forward, tackling our testing challenges head-on, and rebuilding trust by staying the course and getting it right for every student in Tennessee.
Centro Hispano de East Tennessee
Communities in Schools of Tennessee
Director of Advocacy
Memphis Education Fund
National Civil Rights Museum
C. Johnson Consulting
Mary Cypress Metz
Vice President of Programs
State Collaborative on Reforming Education
President and CEO
Knoxville Area Urban League
Stand For Children
Director of International Community Outreach
Chattanooga State Community College
Sr. Director of Education Policy & Programs
TN State Conference NAACP
Tennessee 2017 Teacher of the Year
Hamblen County Schools