Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced changes to state assessments today based on feedback from district leaders, educators, parents, and students.

Here are some specific details that have been shared with us by the state:

  • Overall, students will spend approximately 30 percent less time taking state tests this year. For the typical third grader, this year’s state assessment will be three and a half hours shorter than last year. For a typical 11th grader, their End of Course assessments will be three hours and 45 minutes shorter than last year’s EOCs. For our English language arts assessments, the total overall time has been reduced by about 30 percent for all our students. Our social studies assessment for grades 3-8 is two-thirds shorter than it was last year. The following link will provide specific testing times for each grade level and subject.

http://tn.gov/assets/entities/education/attachments/TestTimesCharts.pdf

 

  • Students in grades 3-8 will take the state assessment in one window at the end of the year. High school students on a block schedule will be assessed at the end of each term. In other words, Part I will be eliminated in all subjects. While the state assessment will still include a writing component, it will be given a single administration window at the end of the school year. This ensures teachers have time to cover all of their content and alleviates numerous logistical challenges.

 

  • In addition, will be phased in over multiple years to ensure that the state and the vendor are ready. For the upcoming school year, the state assessment for grades 3–8 will be administered via paper and pencil. However, the department will work closely with Questar to provide an online option for high school End of Course exams.

 

  • In the coming school year, the state will administer a social studies field test for students in grades 3–8. Field tests are not scored for a grade and do not factor into educators’ evaluations. Instead, field testing is a process used to ensure that, for future tests, students are only scored on questions that are valid and appropriate for them to take.

 

  • S. history, an End of Course exam for high school students, will continue as planned for the 2016-17 school year—although it will be shorter than last year’s test and it will be given in a single administration window. Similar to other subjects, the grades 3–8 social studies assessment will be given in only one part when the operational test resumes in the 2017-18 school year.

To help address questions concerning next year’s test, the department of education has prepared a Q&A document that can be assessed here and will be updated as more details become available.