Tennessee’s largest K-through-12 online school had to defend poor standardized test results to state lawmakers Tuesday. Tennessee Virtual Academy posted scores labeled “unacceptable” by the state.
Sitting before the Senate Education Committee, academy head Josh Williams was asked why his online school – on a scale of one to five – ended up with a one.
Tennessee Virtual Academy has more than 3,000 students, and they come from public school districts throughout the state, including Nashville.
“I know some of the districts – and this is a rumor – that some of the districts would take some of the kids they thought would be bad for their scores and actually try to send them our way.”
Williams says his school – in just its second year – also enrolled some students only months before standardized tests were to be given.
While several state senators say they are unsatisfied with the explanation, Education Committee chair Delores Gresham is cutting the virtual school some slack.
“I think it’s too early to judge and too early to pull the plug on a program that already we know – at least anecdotally – is succeeding.”
Tennessee Virtual Academy is operated by K12 Inc., a for-profit company that has come under scrutiny in several states for delivering sub-par standardized test results.