Senator Watson backing legislation giving teachers and principals the choice to exclude TNReady test scores

NASHVILLE — Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson (R-Hixson) today expressed his support for legislation advancing in the Tennessee General Assembly to give teachers and principals the choice to include or not to include student results from the 2015-2016 TNReady assessment in his or her evaluation. Watson said he is signing on as a co-sponsor of the bill which could be on the Senate floor for final consideration as early as next week.

“I’m as frustrated and aggravated as everyone else,” said Sen. Watson. “We need to alleviate the concerns expressed by students, teachers, principals and parents about this test, which now may best be viewed as a trial run at TNReady. Student scores were not going to be counted already during the first year of transition. The proposed legislation ensures that these scores will not count for educators, unless it is beneficial.”

Under Senate Bill 2508, if at any point in this three-year transition an educator’s evaluation would not benefit by including the student growth data from the 2015-16 TNReady test, he or she can have that data excluded. Educators will automatically receive the option that provides them with the best score.

“Due to the glitches, teachers and principals are now going to have full control over whether or not they want to use them in their personal evaluations,” Watson added. “At any time over the three years, they can make that choice which gives them the ability to choose their best scores over that time period.”

“While canceling the testing of our students is not foreseeable, teachers should encourage students to proceed forward with their best performances, and know that state officials will not hold these scores against them due to mistakes made in Nashville,” Watson continued. “This year’s testing data is, however, a chance for us to learn more about where we are in education, whether it is the individual student, teacher, principal, or school district, or the state as a whole. That data is too important to just put aside. But, make no mistake about it, these scores will not be counted against educators.”

The legislation was approved unanimously by the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday. It is set for consideration in the Education Instruction and Programs Subcommittee in the House on Tuesday, where it is expected to be favorably recommended.

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