BRISTOL, Tenn. - At its regularly scheduled Monday evening meeting, the Bristol Tennessee Board of Education voted in favor of a resolution calling for the Tennessee General Assembly to establish a moratorium on all state standardized testing for the 2020‐2021 school year.
In mid-March, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was ramping up, Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill that dropped end-of-course TNReady testing for the 2019-2020 school year. The board’s resolution calls for not only a moratorium on end‐of‐year examinations and formative assessments throughout the year but also calls for a moratorium on the ways schools systems, teachers and students are held accountable by state standardized tests.
The resolution cites multiple reasons that standardized testing shouldn’t occur during the current school year, one of them is the continued spread of COVID‐19, which has many school systems across the state teaching all or some of their students remotely.
It also states that school systems across the state have implemented learning plans for the 2020-2021 school year that differ from county to county because they are based on the needs of local students and on local COVID‐19 outbreaks. Additionally it states that many school systems are not only focusing on student growth and safety, but also on recoupment of academic, social and emotional skills lost by students while schools were closed.
However, the resolution also makes an alternative request if standardized testing does continue in some form during the 2020‐2021 school year. It requests that the results of that testing be used as metrics of student progress rather than to determine district rankings and scorings statewide because of the disparity in learning methods that are being used across the state due to the pandemic as well was the fact that many school systems are playing catch up with their students.
Annette Tudor, director of schools for BTCS, previously told the Bristol Herald Courier that she believes there should be no standardized testing requirements for teachers or students. She also previously said she believes requiring standardized testing under the pandemic is unfortunate, frustrating and unfair.
Bristol Tennessee City Council is set to discuss this resolution at its regularly scheduled work session today and it is to be considered by the Sullivan County Commission at its regularly scheduled October meeting.
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