The Tennessee Business Roundtable today announced its support for Governor Bill Lee's proposed Assessment Accountability & Evaluation bill - SB7001/HB7003.
Tennessee’s business leaders know that our future success, and that of our state’s economy, depends enormously on how well today’s K-12 students are being prepared for future post-secondary and career attainment. Continuous improvement in K-12 academic performance in English, math, science, and social studies is absolutely critical to ensuring Tennessee students’ future success.
✓ Maintain K-12 Testing in 2020-2021
We strongly support maintaining our state’s student performance assessments, and their alignment to our Tennessee K-12 academic standards for English, math, science, and social studies, for the current and future academic years.
➢ We Have to Measure in Order to Know. As business leaders, we know very well that “you can’t improve what you don’t measure.” The only way to know how well our students are progressing toward mastery of Tennessee’s strong K-12 academic standards is to periodically measure student performance.
In order to make valid student performance comparisons and be able to analyze longitudinal trends, we must have consistent test across academic years.
That’s why we agree with Governor Lee that the COVID-19 crisis makes it especially important to maintain Tennessee’s annual K-12 academic testing for 2020-21.
➢ Testing Helps Assess COVID-Related Learning Loss. Testing K-12 student performance in 2020-21 is the only way we can accurately assess COVID-related learning loss across all districts, develop strategies that effectively address it, and help Tennessee’s K-12 students get back on track soon as possible. This is especially important in assessing COVID-related learning loss effects on Black, Hispanic, and economically disadvantaged Tennessee students who have historically been underserved.
➢ Testing Points the Way Toward Improvement. Comparable, standards-aligned test data is the best way to identify which Tennessee schools are implementing effective strategies which can be adopted by schools and districts seeking to bridge their gaps. Data from the assessment can also help us identify resource needs, then align local and state funding and supports accordingly.
✓ Suspend Adverse Accountability Consequences for 2020-21
We support Governor Lee’s plan to suspend adverse accountability consequences for K-12 teachers and schools for the current academic year – and we also strongly agree with the Governor that Tennessee must fully restore accountability measures in 2021-22.
➢ Annual K-12 test results have and must continue to be a critical component of educational accountability in Tennessee. However, it would be neither proper nor fair to impose punitive measures on schools and teachers as a consequence of the COVID-related student performance gaps we expect in 2020-21.
✓ Keep Test Reporting Transparent
To allow parents, educators, administrators, and advocates to fully understand the impact of COVID, as well as any resulting equity gaps, Tennessee must continue to timely and publicly report district and school K-12 testing results.
➢ Parents, district leaders, policymakers, and student success advocates – and especially our schools and teachers, and the communities and students they serve – deserve to know exactly how well students are performing to our Tennessee academic standards.
➢ Students always benefit when stakeholders can identify where, which, and how emerging best practices (including remote learning) are being implemented well across our state. Reporting transparency supports student success.