Please accept my unreserved apology for the inconvenience the TNReady test difficulties this week.
The House was in Session on Tuesday as the problems began. We were shocked and angry to learn of the trouble as we broke for lunch at noon.
The House spent the next three hours investigating what had occurred. We called in the Department of Education and the TBI to learn what was going on. We told the commissioner that we wanted her and Questar to appear before the House Education and Government Operations Committees jointly in the morning. We each called our school districts to gather facts. We then crafted legislation to do what we thought was best to immediately to help with the issue.
We went back into Session at 3 pm, and soon took up and passed a bill to do the following;
- No letter grade will be given to Tennessee schools for the 2017-18 school year;
- The TNReady test will not count towards teachers' evaluations for the 2017-18 school year;
- The TNReady test will not count towards students' final grades for the 2017-18 school year, and;
- The TNReady tests will be given on paper for the 2017-18 school year.
Today the Senate sent us their own bill which does the following;
- TNReady data shall not be used when assigning the letter grade to schools for the 2017-18 school year;
- LEA’s shall not base employment termination or compensation decisions on the 2017-18 TNReady assessment results.
- Local boards of education can choose to have the TNReady assessment data apply to students’ final grade in a range of between a range of 0% and 15% for the 2017-18 school year.
- None of the 2017-18 TNReady assessment data will be used to determine that a school is a priority school for assignment to an achievement school district, except that if the data is favorable, a school can use the data to come off of the priority school list.
As you can see there are differences between the House and Senate bills. These differences will be settled in talks over the weekend, and by Monday we will vote on a final bill.
I prefer the House version. I believe it is stronger than the Senate’s bill. The Senate does not mention using paper tests, and in Wilson County we do not have any Priority schools so that portion would never affect us. And per the Senate bill, the 2017-18 TNReady test can still count towards teachers’ evaluations they just cannot be used to terminate or determine compensation for a teacher.
I invite you to compare these two plans and to please write me back with your thoughts.