testing

UT to accept ACT test scores despite administrative foul-up

Press release from Lt. Gov. Randy McNally

Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) today announced the University of Tennessee has agreed to accept scores from the October 17 mis-administered ACT tests at Bearden High School and Alvin C. York Institute in Jamestown. The University’s decision was delivered to Lt. Governor McNally by University of Tennessee Interim Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor John Zomchick.  Continue reading

Lawsuit contends state owes fired TNReady contractor $25.3M

The company fired last year by the state Department of Education after major problems came up in trying to implement a then-new student testing system has filed a legal claim contending the state wrongfully broke the contract. State officials won’t comment on the matter, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee, but the company’s president will.

Henry Scherich says Tennessee owes Measurement Inc. $25.3 million for services associated with TNReady, the state’s new standardized test for its public schools. That’s nearly a quarter of the company’s five-year, $108 million contract with the state, which Tennessee officials canceled after technical problems roiled the test’s 2016 rollout.

So far, the state has paid the Durham, North Carolina-based company about $545,000 for its services, representing about 2 percent of the total bill, according to a claim recently obtained by Chalkbeat.

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State Supreme Court considers using nationwide test for TN lawyers

Press release from Administrative Office of the Courts

Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Board of Law Examiners has filed a petition with the Supreme Court of Tennessee to adopt the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), which would be a major change in the portability of bar exam results for aspiring Tennessee attorneys. The UBE is a nationwide test that has been adopted by 28 states and allows takers to transfer scores between states.

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Haslam: TNReady flap overblown; McQueen tells legislators latest problem fixed

Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday that controversy over TNReady testing of students is overblown while  Education Commissioner Candice McQueen and a vendor sought to reassure state legislators that the latest problem has been fixed and won’t happen again, reports the Times Free Press. The most recent troubles involved reporting the wrong scores for 9,400 students statewide.

“While we reported 99 percent of our scoring accurately, that’s not good enough,” McQueen told a joint meeting of the House Education Instruction & Programs and Education Administration & Planning committees. “We expect — we required — 100 percent, and that’s our commitment.”

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More TNReady troubles: Test scores wrong for 9,400 students

About 9,400 students across the state received incorrect scores in this year’s TNReady testing, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee. Seems the testing vendor, Questar, used a scanning program that included an error.

According to an email to (Shelby County school) board members Friday, the errors were isolated to English I and II and Integrated Math II tests for high school students.

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TN high school English test scores up; math no so much

Based on test scores released Wednesday, Chalkbeat Tennessee reports that it appears school districts across Tennessee are slowly adapting to the state’s new, more difficult tests for high schoolers.

Three out of every four districts saw English proficiency rise this year, while less than half saw the same trend in math in the second year of TNReady, the state’s new standardized test.

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TNReady scores improve over last year

News release from Department of Education

NASHVILLE—Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced today that Tennessee high school students improved across all subject areas – English, math, science, and U.S. history – on the 2016-17 TNReady end-of-course exams. Thousands of additional students are meeting course expectations compared to last year, and the state reduced the percentage of students scoring at the lowest achievement level across all subject areas.

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Radio ads tout ‘new and improved’ TN testing of school kids

A statewide radio advertising campaign is underway to promote TNReady, the state’s new standardized test that students in grades 3-11 are about to take, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee.

The one-minute ads, which tout Tennessee’s test as “new and improved,” are voiced by Jolinea Pegues, a Trezevant High School teacher in Shelby County Schools, and Derek Voiles, the state’s 2017 Teacher of the Year from Hamblen County.

The two-week run goes through next week in conjunction with the state’s April 17-May 5 TNReady testing window. Students in grades 3-11 will test to measure their proficiency in math and English language arts.

The campaign was produced and paid for by Expect More, Achieve More, a coalition of more than 100 business, community and education organizations advocating for high K-12 academic standards in Tennessee. The effort was spearheaded by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, or SCORE, a Nashville-based education advocacy group founded by former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist.

This is the second year of TNReady testing, which unraveled last year with the failed rollout of Tennessee’s first online test and led Education Commissioner Candice McQueen eventually to cancel the assessment for grades 3-8. McQueen says students, parents and educators can expect a successful rollout this year under Questar, the state’s new testing company, which this week delivered printed testing materials to schools statewide. Only 25 districts have chosen to take the test online again.

Note: See also a separate Chalkbeat story on TNReady, reporting that state leaders say thing will go well this year but some educators are still anxious after last year’s “testing fiasco.” Excerpt:

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State Dept. of Ed redesigns ‘report card’ for TN schools

News release from state Department of Education

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen has announced the launch of a new district and school report card, which has a redesigned layout to help educators and families better access and understand information about their schools. The new site also includes results from the 2015-16 TNReady End of Course exams, which are coupled with the release of redesigned student reports that are available today for high school families to learn how their child performed on TNReady.

The report card highlights a number of data points that capture the academic success of our districts and schools, and it also includes updated data from the 2015-16 year. One of those updated pieces is a new public school ACT composite average for the class of 2016: 19.9. This is higher than previously reported because the earlier number was limited to the last score a student received on the ACT, not necessarily their highest score, which is included in the new figure. (Note: It’s available on the department website, HERE.)

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National report card: TN student science scores on upswing

News release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that Tennessee students are the fastest improving in the nation in science, according to the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), commonly known as the Nation’s Report Card.

The last time fourth and eighth grade students both took NAEP science was 2009, and the 2015 NAEP results show Tennessee is the only state to grow faster than the nation in both grades with Tennessee students doubling the average national growth.

Tennessee also narrowed or eliminated several achievement gaps. The gap between the science performance of male and female students was completely eliminated in both grades. In both fourth and eighth grade science the gap in achievement scores between white and African-American students narrowed, and the gap tightened between white and Latino students in fourth grade.

With these scores, Tennessee now ranks 19th and 21st in the country on fourth and eighth grade science, respectively – the highest rankings the state has ever had on the Nation’s Report Card.

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