Assessment Task Force 2.0
Commissioner Candice McQueen has reconvened the Task Force on Student Testing and Assessment in order to continue the dialogue around creating intentional and streamlined assessments.
Membership of this spring’s reconvened task force includes several new participants, joining members from a broad spectrum of stakeholders representing educators, legislators, parents, school board members, students, and communities across the state. The group will meet monthly throughout summer and early fall to learn of the progress on last year’s recommendations, address items requiring further analysis from the first task force, review and assess tests implemented in the 2015-16 school year, provide additional recommendations on testing, and give feedback on specific assessment and accountability-related items as the department works to develop a plan to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.
Original Assessment Task Force Report
After six months of discussions and research, the Tennessee Task Force on Student Testing and Assessment, comprised of 18 educators and education leaders from across the state, released their report. The task force was formed by Commissioner McQueen in spring 2015 as a result of feedback from the field about the amount of testing, quality of testing, and associated test preparation. The task force conducted several surveys across the state to better understand how teachers, principals, and district leadership use assessment to make instructional decisions. The task force also examined the history of testing in Tennessee, the purpose for different type of assessments, and the information parents and teachers get from each type of assessment.
Based on this information, the task force developed a set of principles and recommendations to guide the work of the state, districts, and schools. The task force report contains 16 tangible recommendations to address concerns about too much testing and to ensure the meaningful use of assessments across the state. Recommendations include multiple strategies to help reduce unnecessary or redundant student tests, including at the state level:
- Elimination of the kindergarten and first-grade annual standardized tests;
- Elimination of the mandatory EXPLORE (8th grade) and PLAN (10th grade) tests;
- Continued requirement of the ACT or SAT for 11th grade students, but not the adoption of ACT’s new alternative ASPIRE test or SAT’s companion test.
Tennessee students spend only 11-12 hours or one percent of the school year taking state-required TCAP assessments each year, but the task force concluded that many districts are utilizing and requiring a variety of additional benchmarks or formative assessments throughout the year to measure student progress.
View a complete list of task force members in the initial press release.