It will still be weeks before scores are released for the few Tennessee students who completed new standardized testing in the spring. But already education officials are warning that the numbers will look bad.
This was a new, harder test, called TNReady. And even before the glitches that came with the online version — and then the hard copies — educators braced for a big dip from the old test, known as the TCAP.
This week, the state board of education is deciding what will be considered a passing grade, and the number of students considered on track is set to drop significantly, especially in high school math. More than 50 percent of students scored below expectations, according to early figures from the Tennessee Department of Education.
Commissioner Candice McQueen told reporters on a conference call that being more honest about how Tennessee students are performing will add some urgency to making bigger gains. But she understands concerns for the next few years, like how these sub-par grades will affect report cards and teacher evaluations.
"We want to be conscious of any negative impact that a proficiency drop would have on students, and be thoughtful about how we're all in this together," she said.
Teachers and students were given a pass for the first year of TNReady, so the scores won't count against them. But McQueen says she may try to hold educators harmless for a little longer.