Tennessee task force to examine 'too much' student testing by local districts

Tennessee task force to examine 'too much' student testing by local districts

March 3rd, 2015 by Andy Sher in Local Regional News

Candice McQueen

Candice McQueen

Photo by The Tennessean /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE -- State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced on Monday the creation of a state task force on student testing and assessment to study and identify "best practices" in school-level tests and how those assessments align with required state tests.

"We have heard some concerns that there is 'too much testing' taking place," McQueen said in a news release. "So as education leaders and stakeholders, it's important that we clearly understand current testing policies and practices at both the state and local levels."

A report will be issued this summer.

McQueen said "proper assessment tools are vital in making sure we are supporting our schools, teachers, parents and students with clear information about what students are learning and mastering."

She added that officials want to "highlight those districts that are finding the right approach and balance on this important topic, and to identify any areas for discussion and improvement."

The new task force includes education leaders, teachers and stakeholders. The first meeting of the task force will convene in late March. One of its first orders of business is focusing on the results of a district assessment survey.

"Assessments can be powerful tools in ensuring the work we're doing in education is effective and that we are gaining a return on our taxpayer investments," Senate Education Committee Chairman and task force member Dolores Gresham said in the news release.

Besides McQueen and Gresham, task force members include Rep. John Forgety, R-Athens, who is House Education Instruction and Programs chairman, and Sara Heyburn, executive director of the State Board of Education.

Contact staff writer Andy Sher at asher@timesfree press.com or 615-255-0550.