2016-17 State of Education in Tennessee - Page 38

During the spring and summer of 2016 , the Assessment Task Force 2.0 discussed how assessments in Tennessee can align with revised , high-quality standards , better capture student performance , reduce unnecessary testing , and provide school and classroom leaders the information necessary to deliver the instruction students need . The group also provided feedback on TDOE ’ s developing plans for assessment , accountability , and school improvement under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act ( ESSA ).
ESSA AND ACCOUNTABILITY . The Every Student Succeeds Act became law in December 2015 , reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and replacing the former federal education law , No Child Left Behind . Under ESSA , states have more authority in setting education policy . The majority of Tennessee ’ s existing policies are in line with the new law , but implementation provides opportunities for Tennessee to strengthen existing systems and structures , particularly regarding assessment , accountability , school improvement , and education for English learners . TDOE ’ s five-year strategic plan , Tennessee Succeeds , has guided state planning for taking advantage of opportunities for improvement presented by ESSA .
Reflecting Tennessee ’ s commitment to accountability , in 2016 the General Assembly passed a law requiring A-F letter grades for all Tennessee public schools . The grading system is designed to provide more transparency about school performance to parents and community members . Planning the measures for A-F grades informs the state ’ s accountability framework . TDOE is developing a plan to integrate the school grading system with the ESSA accountability requirements for implementation in the 2017-18 school year . The draft ESSA plan adds school-level accountability and includes three major changes to the state ’ s accountability framework : a new Ready Graduate indicator measuring high school students ’ readiness for postsecondary opportunities and the workforce , an Opportunity to Learn indicator measuring an additional indicator of school quality or student success , and measurement of English learners ’ progress towards language proficiency .
To inform the state ’ s ESSA plan and A-F accountability system , TDOE held town halls across the state , assembled working groups focused on specific areas of the draft plan , and opened an online portal for public feedback . TDOE released a draft ESSA implementation plan in December 2016 and plans to submit the final implementation plan in April 2017 to the US Department of Education for approval .
RIGOROUS ACADEMIC STANDARDS . As the state plans for a new accountability system , high academic standards remain the foundation of Tennessee ’ s policies and practices . In April 2016 , the State Board of Education approved English language arts ( ELA ) and math standards , setting gradeand subject-specific goals to drive increased student learning through higher expectations for students . Thousands of Tennesseans provided input on draft standards through an online portal opened by the state board . More than 200 others participated in state board roundtables across the state . Beginning in January 2017 , TDOE will provide district leaders training to implement new ELA and math standards . School leaders and teachers will engage in training in the spring and summer of 2017 . 38
In addition to math and ELA , the state initiated reviews in 2016 of standards for science and social studies . 39 The state board approved new science standards during its fall 2016 meeting , while social studies standards are set to be reviewed and finalized in 2017 . These standards were strengthened through a robust public review process similar to that followed in the ELA and math reviews , Educators , parents , community members , and policymakers provided feedback for the State Board ’ s consideration ( Figure 30 ).
FIGURE 29 . TIMELINE FOR TENNESSEE ’ S ESSA PLAN
Kickoff Stakeholder Input Writing the Plan
Stakeholder Feedback
Approving the Plan
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
PG . 37