Tennessee’s top leaders are calling on state lawmakers to remove negative consequences from student test results this upcoming spring.
Gov. Bill Lee and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said the annual state tests will be administered as planned, but teachers and schools should be held harmless for the results.
“Given the unprecedented disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic and extended time away from the classroom has had on Tennessee’s students, my administration will work with the General Assembly to bring forward a solution for this school year that alleviates any burdens associated with educator evaluations and school accountability metrics,” Lee said in a statement Friday morning.
The announcement comes months after superintendents and school boards from across the state have urged state officials to either cancel state tests, known as TNReady, or remove the accountability measures that come with them. The decision will ultimately come from state legislators who are expected to reconvene in January.
Teacher evaluation scores, which rely heavily on student test scores, can be used in decisions for pay increases and determine how much additional training or monitoring a teacher receives. Schools with low test scores also receive more scrutiny from the state and in extreme cases can move under state control.
Schwinn said the information tests provide is still needed and supported the governor’s call.
“Administering assessments to gauge student learning and ensuring strong accountability best enables us to meet the needs of all students, however we know the significant challenges our teachers and school and district leaders are facing and it remains critical to reward their good work,” she said in a statement.
This story will be updated.