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Should state ACT to record a student's progess?

• Dec 18, 2017 at 12:00 AM

A Washington County legislator said he may sponsor a bill to make the ACT the sole standard test for teacher and student evaluations in Tennessee.

Earlier this month, state Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, told the Johnson City Board of Education he is disappointed with the progress of the TNReady testing program and believes it’s time for the state to move in a different direction.

“This has been ridiculous,” Hill said. “We’ve spent tens and tens and tens of millions of people’s tax dollars, and then the last several years, we’ve made the teachers and students go through all this testing mess. Then at the end, we’re like, ‘Oh, just kidding. It doesn’t count,’ because we couldn’t get the results back or it wasn’t scored properly.”

Local school officials said they agree with Hill’s assessment of TNReady.

“We have nine courses at the high school that we have to give an end-of-course (test) in, and our teachers are being told to ride two horses, in effect,” Dr. David Timbs, Johnson City Schools’ supervisor of secondary and instructional technology, told Hill and his colleagues. “ACT translates into dollars. It translates into AP scores and it translates into dual enrollment. ”

High school students in Tennessee are required to take either the ACT or SAT to graduate, but their performance is measured by end-of-course TNReady tests. That’s why Tennessee’s high school students are now required to take TNReady exams in English I, II and III; algebra I and II and geometry; biology and chemistry; and U.S. history.

As Press Staff writer Zach Vance reported last week, frustration has grown over TNReady since the 2015-16 school year when the spring test could not be administered online. State officials tried ordering paper copies, but the testing vendor couldn’t deliver the hard copies on time. That resulted in the cancellation of testing for grades 3-8.

Even after firing that vendor and selecting a new one, another snafu occurred last year when 9,400 of the state’s 1.9 million TNReady assessments were scored incorrectly.

What do you think? Should ACT be the only standard test to measure a student’s progress in Tennessee?

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