With A-F grades off the table, Tennessee gets creative about rating its schools under federal law
Tennessee’s plan to start grading its schools this year has taken a big detour.
Days of online testing problems this spring forced officials to toss out a new A-F grading system, under development for more than a year as part of Tennessee’s sweeping plan to usher in a new era of school quality.
Now the state Education Department has come up with a different approach to help parents and communities understand how their schools performed in 2017-18.
The state will rate each school on a scale of 0-4 on six different performance indicators. And in a major concession to local district leaders, schools won’t receive a single overall grade or rating as initially planned.
Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said the change complies with a new state law ordering that this year’s TNReady scores “shall not be used to assign a letter grade to a school” — a nod to concerns that the test results may be unreliable. She believes it also complies with the Every Student Succeeds Act, also known as ESSA, the 2015 federal law that requires every state to adopt a rating system that distinguishes each of its schools in a meaningful way.
McQueen’s approach is drawing mostly praise from education leaders and groups, even as some wonder whether a numeric system will provide the simplicity and clarity of one that grades schools on an A-F scale. [Read more at Chalkbeat.org]