Individual student scores are legally required to account for part of students’ final grades, but the state says it is changing its process and is behind in getting those scores out to districts.
That means school districts and those teaching third through eighth grade will either have to delay calculating their students’ final grades or edit grades after the test results come in. State officials expect scores could be ready by the end of next week.
“The results will not be available in time for our teachers to enter grades before they leave at the end of the school year,” Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Jesse Register told Education Commissioner Huffman in a letter Wednesday asking the state waive the requirement.
“It takes tremendous manpower to manually enter grades in four separate subjects for over 35,000 students, and we cannot adequately meet this challenge without the assistance of our teachers,” he said, adding the district would also have to take on extra costs if forced to mail report cards late instead of sending them home with students.
The delay comes as the state is changing its process of evaluating standardized test results, according to Erin O’Hara, Assistant Commissioner for Data and Research, in an email sent to superintendents Tuesday. The state plans to make the process change permanent, she said, although scores for high school students were prioritized to be on time given the impact grades would have on graduation.
An attempt to reach the Department of Education for comment was not successful as of this posting.
After the jump is the email O’Hara sent superintendents Tuesday.
We wanted to notify you of a delay in the release of quick scores for grades 3-8 Achievement and MAAS assessments. As you all know, we narrowed our assessments this year in order to eliminate focus on SPIs that were not aligned to the state standards. Given the narrowing of the assessment this year the department decided, in consultation with our external Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), to conduct post-equating prior to the release of quick scores. We were able to accomplish this already for End of Course, which we did first given the impact on graduation. The 3-8 process will delay the release of 3-8 Achievement and MAAS quick scores until the end of next week. Post-equating compares the performance of test items on this year's assessment to those of last year and requires a large stratified sample of responses from students statewide.
Normally, the department releases quick scores prior to post equating. Post-equating allows the department, our psychometric staff, and our TAC, to review the data more thoroughly before finalizing quick scores and given the number of changes made this year, we want to do this before releasing scores. It is likely that this will be our process in future years as well. The process of post-equating takes approximately ten days and we will communicate with districts when the process is complete.
We recognize that delaying quick score release has an impact on finalizing student grades and report cards, and apologize for the inconvenience for you and your teams. At the same time, through discussions with our TAC, we want to take appropriate measures to ensure the accuracy of the quick scores.
Pursuant to state law, test scores are required to be a portion of student final grades in grades 3-8. Given the delay, districts can either choose to delay the release of final grades until after the state releases quick scores or districts can finalize student grades without the quick score included and revise grades as appropriate once quick scores are available.
Finally, as a reminder, student demographic data verification and teacher student connection for grades 3-8, MAAS and K-2 close today, May 20 at 6 p.m. CDT and close tomorrow, May 21 at 6 p.m. CDT for End of Course.
If you have any questions, please feel free to be in touch with me via phone or email.
Assistant Commissioner for Data & Research
Updated: Any school district asking the state if it can skip out on factoring TCAP scores into their students’ final grade will get the state's OK, said Kelli Gauthier, spokeswoman for the state Department of Education.
“We have reached out to each school district to let superintendents know that they can apply for a waiver if this creates an operational challenge for them. We have already granted waivers to districts that have made these requests,” she said.