On September 4, several Franklin Special School District teachers and administrators were able to participate in a roundtable discussion, along with other educators from across the region, with Governor Bill Haslam and state Education Commissioner Candice McQueen about the difficulties of the 2018 administration of TNReady testing.
The Governor plans to take the feedback from the six events held across the state, as well as from an online form available to anyone who wants to provide input, and formulate a report by the end of September. The input will guide the discussion on TNReady assessment timelines, vendor selection, and the meaningful communication of the value of assessment results. The listening tour panels consisted only of educators; however, the state welcomes input from all teachers, staff, parents, and community members. If you would like to provide your input through the online engagement process, please go to www.tn.gov/governor/contact-us/listening-tour-feedback.html
Hosted at Freedom Middle School, Governor Haslam and Commissioner McQueen listened as teachers, principals and testing administrators shared their experiences and frustrations regarding last year’s testing process. Feedback from around the region included concerns over lack of computers for testing, online testing failures and delayed test results.
“Governor Haslam and Dr. McQueen were very receptive to each person’s input,” said FSSD Student Performance Supervisor Dr. Kay Boan, who was an invited member of the panel. The discussion was led by Wayne Miller, former executive director of Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS), who is serving as a consultant to the state on this project. Boan said the preponderance of concerns was for online delivery, particularly in schools without 1:1 technology, and for high school juniors who are also taking ACT and AP exams. “Concerns specific to FSSD included improving the delivery and efficiency of administering paper test materials, providing materials to districts in a timely manner, and returning data as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Boan said. Last year, the FSSD did not experience as many issues as other districts because the FSSD opted to use paper tests, except the mandated online testing of students in Algebra I and Geometry End of Course (EOC) assessments.
Freedom Middle School principal Dr. Charles Farmer said the state leaders listened intently and seemed prepared to put what they learned into actionable goals. “Clearly, Governor Haslam plans to provide his successor with a comprehensive outlook on TNReady for the perspective of educators, parents and a variety of other stakeholders across the State of Tennessee,” Farmer said. FSSD Education Association President Rochelle right said she was glad she could be there to provide input and to hear what the state leaders have planned moving forward. “The Governor’s Education Board provided a sense of transparency during discussions that required a plan of action in order to move forward with addressing TNReady testing difficulties. I feel that issues were noted and the input was well received by everyone in a position to make positive and productive changes in process and testing outcomes,” Wright said.