For Policymakers/State Lead­ers

  • In Ten­nessee, we believe every stu­dent should have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to suc­ceed, regard­less of race, gen­der, or their family’s finan­cial sit­u­a­tion.
  • For the past decade, Tennessee’s state lead­ers have led a bipar­ti­san effort to improve edu­ca­tion­al out­comes for all of our stu­dents.
  • To help par­ents and edu­ca­tors bet­ter iden­ti­fy and meet the needs of all stu­dents, we have adopt­ed high­er aca­d­e­mic stan­dards and an annu­al assess­ment that pro­vides fam­i­lies and edu­ca­tors with a more accu­rate mea­sure of stu­dent pro­gress.
  • In the past few years, Ten­nessee has become one of the fastest-improv­ing states in stu­dent achieve­ment, with our grad­u­a­tion rates, ACT scores, and col­lege-going rates on the rise.
  • We take pride in this pro­gress, but also rec­og­nize that there is still more work to do to ensure that every student—irrespective of their race, gen­der or eco­nom­ic background—is pre­pared to suc­ceed beyond high school.
  • As we look ahead, it’s crit­i­cal we con­tin­ue with the­se poli­cies and build on the pro­gress our stu­dents and schools have made—because the future of our state depends on it.

For Com­mu­ni­ty Influ­encers

  • In Ten­nessee, we believe every stu­dent should have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to suc­ceed, regard­less of race, gen­der, or their family’s finan­cial sit­u­a­tion.
  • Tennessee’s state gov­ern­ment, work­ing with busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty and com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions, have led a bipar­ti­san effort to devel­op an over­ar­ch­ing vision for edu­ca­tion in our state.
  • To sup­port that vision, we have adopt­ed high­er aca­d­e­mic stan­dards that align with col­lege expec­ta­tions, as well as an annu­al assess­ment that pro­vides fam­i­lies and edu­ca­tors with a more accu­rate mea­sure of stu­dent pro­gress.
  • In the past few years, Ten­nessee has become one of the fastest-improv­ing states in stu­dent achieve­ment, with our grad­u­a­tion rates, ACT scores, and col­lege-going rates on the rise.
  • We take pride in this pro­gress, but also rec­og­nize that there is still more work to do to ensure that every student—irrespective of their race, gen­der or eco­nom­ic background—is pre­pared to suc­ceed beyond high school.
  • As we look ahead, it’s crit­i­cal we con­tin­ue to build on the pro­gress our stu­dents and schools have made—because the future of our state depends on it.

For Parents/Families

  • In Ten­nessee, we believe every stu­dent should have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to suc­ceed, regard­less of race, gen­der, or their family’s finan­cial sit­u­a­tion.
  • Lead­ers from both par­ties have worked with edu­ca­tors and com­mu­ni­ties across the state to devel­op a vision, known as Ten­nessee Suc­ceeds, that empha­sizes giv­ing Lati­no and African Amer­i­can stu­dents, among oth­ers, access to a high-qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion, as well as improv­ing low-achiev­ing schools.
  • To help par­ents and edu­ca­tors bet­ter iden­ti­fy and meet the needs of all stu­dents, we have adopt­ed high­er aca­d­e­mic stan­dards and an annu­al assess­ment that pro­vides a more accu­rate mea­sure of stu­dent pro­gress.
  • Now, our stu­dents are mak­ing great pro­gress, with grad­u­a­tion rates, ACT scores, and col­lege-going rates on the rise.
  • We take pride in our stu­dents’ pro­gress, but also rec­og­nize that there is still more work to do to ensure that every stu­dent is pre­pared to suc­ceed beyond high school.
  • As we look ahead, we must build on our pro­gress so that every stu­dent in Tennessee—irrespective of their race, gen­der or eco­nom­ic background—is pre­pared for suc­cess in edu­ca­tion beyond high school, in their career and in life.

What we say influ­ences how we think and act about a par­tic­u­lar sub­ject. Con­sid­er the fol­low­ing when dis­cussing stu­dent assess­ments in Ten­nessee.

Instead of… Try this Ratio­nale
“We need to pause stu­dent assess­ments in Ten­nessee.” Our stu­dents have been mak­ing pro­gress over the past few years, but we still have more work to do to ensure that every stu­dent suc­ceeds. Now is not the time to backtrack—we must con­tin­ue to build on the pro­gress we’ve made with high­er aca­d­e­mic stan­dards and an annu­al assess­ment that pro­vides a more accu­rate mea­sure of stu­dent pro­gress. High­light pro­gress and con­tin­u­ing the momen­tum on the right track.
“There is no con­fi­dence in TNReady.” The gov­er­nor has sought out feed­back on TNReady from teach­ers across the state, and they have said that TNReady should not be elim­i­nat­ed. The gov­er­nor has lis­tened to teach­ers’ feed­back and pri­or­i­tized it in mak­ing changes to the deliv­ery of TNReady. Cite feed­back from teach­ers on the governor’s lis­ten­ing tour.
“Tennessee’s test­ing pro­gram is deeply trou­bled.” Although there have been some bumps in the road dur­ing the first few years of TNReady, we believe that—with some fixes—TNReady pro­vides fam­i­lies and edu­ca­tors with a more accu­rate mea­sure of stu­dent pro­gress. The gov­er­nor and edu­ca­tion com­mis­sion­er recent­ly announced changes to TNReady to respond to teach­ers’ feed­back and meet stu­dents’ needs, and we wel­come the­se improve­ments. Acknowl­edge issues but high­light the ben­e­fits of TNReady for fam­i­lies and edu­ca­tors.
“Annu­al state tests do not provide use­ful infor­ma­tion for teach­ers.” Annu­al assess­ments give edu­ca­tors a more accu­rate pic­ture of stu­dent pro­gress so that they can bet­ter iden­ti­fy and meet the needs of all stu­dents. High­light how assess­ments help edu­ca­tors sup­port stu­dents.

Has stu­dent achieve­ment improved in Ten­nessee?
Yes, stu­dent achieve­ment is on the rise in Ten­nessee. In fact, Ten­nessee has become one of the fastest-improv­ing states in stu­dent achieve­ment over the last few years. High school grad­u­a­tion rates, ACT scores and col­lege-going rates have all increased, with more stu­dents ready to suc­ceed beyond high school—whether that’s in col­lege, career or the mil­i­tary.

What has led to improve­ments in stu­dent aca­d­e­mic per­for­mance?
For the past decade, Tennessee’s state gov­ern­ment, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with busi­ness­es and com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions, has led a bipar­ti­san effort to improve edu­ca­tion­al out­comes for all of our stu­dents. Lead­ers from both par­ties have worked with edu­ca­tors and com­mu­ni­ties across the state to devel­op a vision, known as Ten­nessee Suc­ceeds, that empha­sizes giv­ing Lati­no and African Amer­i­can stu­dents, among oth­ers, access to a high-qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion, as well as improv­ing low-achiev­ing schools. As part of this effort, our state also adopt­ed high­er aca­d­e­mic stan­dards and an annu­al assess­ment that pro­vides fam­i­lies and edu­ca­tors with a more accu­rate mea­sure of stu­dent aca­d­e­mic pro­gress.

Ten­nessee is mov­ing in the right direc­tion, but there’s much more work to do. It’s imper­a­tive that we con­tin­ue to build on the pro­gress already made to ensure that every student—irrespective of their race, gen­der or eco­nom­ic background—is pre­pared to suc­ceed beyond high school.

How can Ten­nessee best sup­port all stu­dents?
Over the past decade, Ten­nessee has seen sig­nif­i­cant growth in stu­dent aca­d­e­mic achieve­ment through a vari­ety of invest­ments. This includes the adop­tion of high­er aca­d­e­mic stan­dards and an assess­ment that pro­vides a more accu­rate mea­sure of stu­dent pro­gress. Most impor­tant­ly, we’ve had bipar­ti­san lead­er­ship that is com­mit­ted to doing what’s best for stu­dents and to build­ing on the pro­gress already made. As we look ahead, it’s crit­i­cal that we stay the course with the stan­dards and assess­ment so that every child receives the sup­port they need to grad­u­ate from Ten­nessee pub­lic schools with the skills to suc­ceed.

If achieve­ment is improv­ing, why are so many stu­dents still per­form­ing below grade lev­el?
Our state’s ris­ing high school grad­u­a­tion rates, ACT scores and col­lege-going rates have trans­lat­ed into thou­sands more stu­dents being pre­pared for suc­cess beyond high school. Our edu­ca­tion sys­tem is mov­ing in the right direc­tion, but there’s still much more work to do to ensure that every child receives an edu­ca­tion that pre­pares them to suc­ceed. Change won’t hap­pen overnight. Ten­nessee lead­er­ship must con­tin­ue to build on the pro­gress made through Ten­nessee Suc­ceeds and work with com­mu­ni­ties to sup­port our edu­ca­tors and stu­dents so that every child in Tennessee—irrespective of their race, gen­der or eco­nom­ic background—is pre­pared for suc­cess in edu­ca­tion beyond high school, in their career and in life.

In Ten­nessee, we believe that every stu­dent should have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to suc­ceed regard­less of race, gen­der, or their family’s finan­cial sit­u­a­tion. That’s why our state gov­ern­ment has led a bipar­ti­san effort to adopt high­er aca­d­e­mic stan­dards and an annu­al assess­ment that pro­vides a more accu­rate mea­sure of stu­dent pro­gress. In recent years, we’ve become one of the fastest-improv­ing states in stu­dent achieve­ment, with grad­u­a­tion rates, ACT scores, and col­lege-going rates on the rise. While there has been sig­nif­i­cant pro­gress, we know there is more work to do to ensure every stu­dent is pre­pared for suc­cess in edu­ca­tion beyond high school, in their career, and in life. As we look ahead, it’s crit­i­cal we con­tin­ue to build on the pro­gress our stu­dents have made and stay the course in sup­port­ing our schools—because the future of our state depends on it.

Tweet 1:
In TN, we believe every student—no mat­ter their race, gen­der, or family’s finan­cial situation—should have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to suc­ceed. Our stu­dents have made great pro­gress, but to make #ede­quity a real­i­ty we need to stay on course and sup­port our stu­dents. [LINK] #StaySharpTN

Tweet 2:
With high­er stan­dards and an annu­al assess­ment that gives a more accu­rate pic­ture of stu­dent pro­gress, TN’s grad rates, ACT scores, & col­lege-going rates are on the rise. Now it’s up to us to con­tin­ue that for­ward momen­tum. [LINK] #StaySharpTN

Tweet 3:
TN stu­dents made great pro­gress in recent years, as our state adopt­ed high stan­dards & an annu­al assess­ment that gives a more accu­rate pic­ture of stu­dent pro­gress. To keep our stu­dents on a pos­i­tive tra­jec­to­ry, we need to stay the course with the­se poli­cies. [LINK] #StaySharpTN

[Insert Policymaker’s Name],

[If appro­pri­ate: Con­grat­u­la­tions on your election/re-election.]

I’m reach­ing out with some promis­ing news about Tennessee’s stu­dents.

Thanks to a bipar­ti­san effort over the last decade to improve edu­ca­tion­al out­comes for all of our stu­dents, Ten­nessee has become one of the fastest-improv­ing states in stu­dent achieve­ment. High school grad­u­a­tion rates, ACT scores and col­lege-going rates are all on the rise.

At [orga­ni­za­tion], we’re proud to have worked with state lead­ers [, like your­self,] and edu­ca­tors to devel­op our state’s vision, known as Ten­nessee Suc­ceeds, that empha­sizes giv­ing Lati­no and African Amer­i­can stu­dents, among oth­ers, access to a high-qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion, as well as improv­ing low-achiev­ing schools. We also strong­ly sup­port the con­tin­ued use of the Ten­nessee Aca­d­e­mic Stan­dards and improv­ing TN Ready as we hold all stu­dents to high aca­d­e­mic expec­ta­tions.

As you look ahead to 2019, I encour­age you to [con­tin­ue to] put Tennessee’s stu­dents first. It’s crit­i­cal that we con­tin­ue to have sta­bil­i­ty in our stan­dards, improve—but not eliminate—our state assess­ment, and build on the pro­gress our stu­dents and schools have made. The future of our state depends on it.

Regards,
[Name]
[Title]
[Orga­ni­za­tion]

Want to learn more about how to communicate the value of student assessments in Tennessee?

Watch our webinar

Par­ents, com­mu­ni­ties and advo­cates know that stu­dent assess­ments are a cru­cial com­po­nent in under­stand­ing how our stu­dents, schools and dis­tricts are per­form­ing. But what is the best way to com­mu­ni­cate the val­ue of assess­ments in Ten­nessee? Join the Ten­nessee Edu­ca­tion­al Equi­ty Coali­tion as we share best prac­tices for com­mu­ni­cat­ing why school assess­ments mat­ter, and how they can help us con­tin­ue our tra­jec­to­ry of growth in our state.