Here’s a preview of how students fared on Tennessee’s new TNReady test

The problem-plagued start of Tennessee’s new standardized test last spring means that only high school students will get scores this year.


Now, weeks before those scores are to be released, state education officials are offering a glimpse at the results which, as expected, are worse than the previous year.

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen has warned of a drop in scores for more than a year, citing the heightened difficulty of the new TNReady test, which is the state’s first to be aligned to the current Common Core State Standards.

This week, she said students and teachers shouldn’t get discouraged. The test is just harder, she said, focusing more on critical thinking skills and less on rote memorization.
“This is really not about students going backward,” McQueen told reporters.
State Department of Education leaders on Thursday provided the State Board of Education with a distribution of students’ scores in 2015-16 according to proposed benchmarks set by a panel of 86 Tennessee teachers. The teachers reviewed high school students’ tests to determine how they should be broken down according to four levels that, beginning this year, will be labeled mastered, on track, approaching grade level, or below grade level.
The State Board will vote on the scoring benchmarks, known as “cut scores,” on Friday.
Predicting that TNReady scores will remain lower than usual next year too, McQueen also is asking the State Board to change its policy on how 2016-17 test scores, which will be released by early next June, are incorporated into student grades.
“We are being thoughtful about including TNReady in students’ grades,” she said. “We want to be conscious of any negative impact a proficiency drop would have on our students. We are all in this together.”
Here’s what the breakdown of TNReady student scores will look like if the State Board approves the proposed cut scores:
For English I, II, III
– 5-10 percent of student performance at Mastered (Level 4)
– 15-30 percent of student performance at On Track (Level 3)
– 30-50 percent of student performance at Approaching (Level 2)
– 20-40 percent of student performance at Below (Level 1)
For Integrated Math I/II/III or Algebra I/II/Geometry
– 1-10 percent of student performance at Mastered (Level 4)
– 5-20 percent of student performance at On Track (Level 3)
– 20-30 percent of student performance at Approaching (Level 2)
– 50-70 percent of student performance at Below (Level 1)
For U.S. History
– 5-10 percent of student performance at Mastered (Level 4)
– 15-30 percent of student performance at On Track (Level 3)
– 20-40 percent of student performance at Approaching (Level 2)
– 30-50 percent of student performance at Below (Level 1)