Commissioner McQueen Reconvenes Special Task Force On Student Testing And Assessment

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced Wednesday the reconvening of the special Tennessee Task Force on Student Testing and Assessment to further study and identify best practices in testing at the school, district, and state level.

Comm. McQueen formed the first iteration of this assessment task force shortly after taking office in 2015 as a result of feedback from the field about the amount of testing, quality of testing, and associated test preparation. Based on in-depth discussions and extensive experience from the field, the original task force developed a set of principles and recommendations, housed in a task force report, to guide the work of the state, districts, and schools.
Recommendations included multiple strategies to help reduce unnecessary or redundant student tests, including eliminating assessments in four grades, officials said.

“Reconvening this group of leaders across the state, in addition to welcoming new members, gives us an opportunity to continue the dialogue around creating intentional and streamlined assessments,” Comm. McQueen said. “This group’s thoughtful work led to 16 recommendations in the first report – all of which are being implemented.” 

Membership of this spring’s reconvened task force includes several new participants, joining members from a broad spectrum of stakeholders representing educators, legislators, parents, school board members, students, and communities across the state. The group will meet monthly throughout summer and early fall to learn of the progress on last year’s recommendations, address items requiring further analysis from the first task force, review and assess tests implemented in the 2015-16 school year, provide additional recommendations on testing, and give feedback on specific assessment and accountability-related items as the department works to develop a plan to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

The task force will include the following members (an asterisk denotes new members):

Candice McQueen, Tennessee Commissioner of Education
Sara Heyburn, executive director, State Board of Education
Dolores Gresham, chairman, Senate Education Committee
John Forget, chairman, House Education Instruction and Programs Committee
Harry Brooks, chairman, House Education Administration and Planning Committee
Wanda Shelton, assistant director, Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents
Mike Winstead, director of Schools, Maryville City Schools
Randy Frazier, director of Schools, Weakley County Schools*
B.J. Worthington, director of Schools, Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools*
Nancy Ash, assistant director of Schools, Lebanon Special Schools
Beth Unfried, director of Elementary Schools, Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools
Bill White, assessment director, Shelby County Schools*
Bill Harlin, principal, Nolensville High School, Williamson County Schools
Joann Young, literacy coach, College Grove Elementary, Williamson County Schools*
Tina Childers, teacher, Hixson Middle School, Hamilton County Schools*
Philip Eller, teacher, Cedar Grove Elementary, Rutherford County Schools
Rebecca McBride, teacher, Brighton High School, Tipton County Schools
Valerie Love, teacher, Dobyns-Bennett High School, Kingsport City Schools 
Debbie Shedden, president-elect, Tennessee School Boards Association, Hawkins County board member
Jasmine Carlisle, student, Mt. Juliet High, Wilson County Schools
Virginia Babb, parent, Knox County Parent-Teacher Association
 
Representatives from the department of education, SCORE, PET, and TEA will continue to serve as ex-officio members of the task force.

The first meeting of the reconvened task force will be on Thursday, May 26 from 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m. CDT located at the First Amendment Center, 1207 18th Ave., in Nashville.

For more information, contact Ashley Ball at 615-532-6260 or Ashley.M.Ball@tn.gov.

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