NASHVILLE – The State Collaborative on Reforming Assessment (SCORE) has released the following statement from President and CEO David Mansouri regarding Gov. Bill Lee’s announcement that the state will conduct statewide assessment this school year. The statement also shares findings from a SCORE poll conducted October 8-11 asking parents for their views of state assessment in general and this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic disruptions to education created serious learning loss, which means consistent, comparable information about student learning this year is even more valuable and important. SCORE believes it will be best for students for Tennessee to conduct statewide assessment this school year and transparently and publicly report the results. Given the extraordinary circumstances this year, teachers should receive their student growth and achievement measures, but the 2020-21 data shouldn’t be used in teacher evaluations or grades unless doing so benefits the teacher or student. We thank Governor Lee for standing by assessment and being open to flexibility for accountability.

SCORE strongly believes it is essential for families, educators, and state leaders to have the summative assessment data from TCAP to fully understand the COVID-19 impact on student learning and build an effective, multiyear education recovery plan. Summative assessment results work with grades and benchmark assessments to give families and teachers a complete picture of how much students have learned. Summative assessment data help decision-makers at the state, district, and classroom levels determine how to improve and differentiate instruction, provide appropriate remediation and enrichment opportunities, and wisely allocate resources to equitably support students and their learning.

Tennessee parents clearly value statewide assessment. In a SCORE poll conducted last weekend, eight out of ten parents said it is important to conduct state tests to measure whether students are meeting academic expectations and said they worry Tennessee students are falling behind academically, socially, and developmentally during the pandemic. Reflecting that confidence in assessment and concern for student well-being, a clear majority of parents say Tennessee should administer the state test this year and report the results. Parents want to know how their schools are performing, and this year is no exception.

SCORE’s policy analysis and engagement with stakeholders have highlighted pandemic-related complexities for test administration and accountability that still need to be addressed by state officials. Next week SCORE plans to release a policy memo that offers additional recommendations for assessment and accountability this school year.