Tennessee Teachers File First Lawsuit Over Use Of Test Data In Pay Decisions

In August of 2013, the Tennessee Education Association tried to keep the state board of education from giving final approval to a plan linking license renewal to student achievement data. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

In August of 2013, the Tennessee Education Association tried to keep the state board of education from giving final approval to a plan linking license renewal to student achievement data. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

An algebra teacher in Knoxville has filed a lawsuit against the school district over the use of student improvement data in pay decisions. The Tennessee Education Association says it’s just the first of many legal challenges in the works.

This teacher says she should have gotten a $1,500 bonus and didn’t because her value-added score was incorrectly tabulated.

TVAAS is a complex statistical estimate to gauge teacher effectiveness. It’s been around for two decades. But only recently have state officials pushed to use the data in tenure and pay decisions.

TEA has been on a multi-month campaign to find flaws.

“TVAAS has been given a credibility and a weight in the public’s mind that it doesn’t deserve,” says TEA president Gera Summerford.

A spokesperson for the Knox County Board of Education declined to comment on the pending litigation.

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