Advocacy groups seek overhaul of TN student testing

News release from SCOM:
(Nashville, TN) – More than a dozen grassroots organizations that support strong public schools across Tennessee are joining together to demand accountability from the Tennessee Department of Education in the wake of confusion created by the latest release of “quick scores” and associated raw “cut scores” from recent TCAP tests.

“The correlation between the quick scores and the raw cut scores is not well understood,” said Lyn Hoyt, President of Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE). “The Department of Education has not communicated well with school systems or the general public. What do these scores mean? How do they determine cut scores? What’s the math involved in pre-equating and post-equating? These are among the questions we believe the DOE should have already answered. We’re calling on Commissioner McQueen to provide clear, direct answers immediately.”

The groups are jointly distributing a petition outlining some basic principles regarding testing going forward. The petition includes the following four principles that all groups believe should guide Tennessee testing policy going forward:

1. The process for determining cut scores should be clear and cut scores should be set and released before tests are administered

2. Tests must be transparent. Questions and answers should be available within a reasonable time after test administration.

3. Standardized test scores should not be counted as a portion of a student’s final grade.

4. Standardized test scores should not be used in teacher evaluation.

“The American Statistical Association has denounced the use of student standardized test scores in teacher evaluations due to the unreliability and invalidity of the formulas used,” says SOCM member, Travis Donoho, “SOCM agrees that standardized test scores are not the best indicator of overall success achieved in our communities, by teachers or by students, and asks the state of Tennessee to stop relying so heavily on a measurement tool that provides limited insight into our educational system.”

Groups participating in this network include:

TREE (Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence)
Strong Schools (Sumner County)
Williamson Strong (Williamson County)
SPEAK (Students, Parents, Educators Across Knox County)
SOCM (Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment, Social Justice Committee)
Momma Bears
Gideon’s Army, Grassroots Army for Children (Nashville)
Advocates for Change in Education (Hamilton County)
Concerned Parents of Franklin County (Franklin County)
The Dyslexia Spot
Parents of Wilson County, TN, Schools
Friends of Oak Ridge Schools (City of Oak Ridge Schools)
TNBATs (State branch of National BATs)

Note: The petition is HERE. Related previous post HERE.