School Board seeks legislative changes in test results, courses and accountability


School Board seeks legislative changes in test results, courses and accountability

By SARAH GRACE TAYLOR

The Williamson County Board of Education resolved to take official stances on three major education issues: state exams, high school GPAs and school/district accountability on Monday night.

The board voted unanimously to approve three different education resolutions that ask the state legislators to make changes in each of those areas.

One resolution asks the state to not include state test results in elementary students’ final course grades and to limit middle school test scores to weighing 10 percent in the final grade.

The resolution states that elementary students do not need “the incentive of the test grade to do their best on the assessment.”

While the board unanimously agreed on the resolution, the face an uphill battle as the state has proposed that next year TNReady results could account for as much as 25 percent of final grades.

The board also passed a resolution asking for independence from the state in weighing high school GPAs.

A new mandate from the state requires students to take end of the year exams for Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. According to the resolution from the district, these mandatory evaluations may deter students from taking these more rigorous courses.

The third resolution opposes a new state rule which will assign individual public schools a letter grade on a traditional A-F scale to determine its success beginning in 2017.

The scale is based on Academic achievement and growth, college and career readiness, chronic absenteeism and English language learners.

The board’s resolution argues that the single letter cannot adequately assess an entire school’s progress.

“The letter grading system will be grossly misleading to the public and will oversimplify the link between poverty and low test scores, thus stigmatizing low-performing schools that receive Ds and Fs, as well as the students who attend them,” the resolution reads.

The resolution goes on to suggest the state determine assessment on a district level rather than by individual schools.

 

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