The steps announced today to improve the 2018-19 administration of TNReady have rightly prioritized the needs of students and the feedback of teachers.
Governor Haslam, with the help of the Tennessee Department of Education, responded quickly and completely to the concerns raised by educators during the TNReady listening tour. The responses to improve student access to computers and to provide teachers more practice questions will do more than ease the administration of TNReady. These changes will give students and teachers tools that will help improve learning across the school year.
These approaches to address the TNReady challenges are pushing assessment forward in Tennessee, and that’s the right response to what educators said and students need. Assessment is an essential part of the learning cycle. During the listening tour, teachers were not in favor of starting over on statewide assessment because they know how disruptive that would be. With first-class test administration – and the verification done this week was an important step toward that goal – Tennessee’s assessment will provide annual results that will help keep more students on track to graduate ready for postsecondary opportunities in education and work.
We know TNReady content is good because this assessment, unlike the state’s previous statewide tests, is providing a measure of student achievement that is comparable to results of national assessments. The selection process for the next assessment vendor should both retain high-quality test items and remedy administration problems.
The actions taken this week to improve TNReady are welcome and needed but must be followed with continued attention on top-notch test administration this fall and in the spring.
David Mansouri is president of SCORE.