This is the biggest education story ever….

A move by the (Tennessee) state Department of Education to make exams better aligned to Common Core standards has delayed the release of end-of-year test scores, leaving school systems scrambling for answers.

The unexpected 10-day postponement will mean a four-year-old law designed to give more meaning to standardized tests won’t be applied to many students.

Tennessee finished their school year last week.  By state law, the state is suppose to give each student’s TCAP scores to teachers to figure out whether they passed.  (They have to pass or be held back.)  On Tuesday, school officials were informed a problem had occurred and the state would not release the scores in time for summer dismissal.

The department gave districts three options: wait to send out report cards until TCAP scores are available, send out report cards now without TCAP scores and then another when the scores can be added, or waive the TCAP requirement for this school year.

Every school district is in a quandary….

We are now hearing from multiple school superintendents and other school officials who have had a chance to review those TCAP scores which the state DOE “inexplicably” withheld, are shocked and stunned by what one school official reported as “horrendous” and “definitely worst ever” test scores.

Lousy test scores would discredit all of Common Core.  Lousy test scores would discredit all that education reformers advocate. Lousy test scores would discredit Michelle Rhee’s former husband, the Secretary of Tennessee Education… Lousy test scores could bring down the governor…..

When DOE Kevin Huffman (Michelle’s ex) saw the scores, he made the decision to withhold them until AFTER the conference he and the governor were hosting for 400 education writers from around the country.  Haslam and Huffman have been relentless in trying to draw attention fo their education policies with a “Hey, look at what Tennessee is doing” meme.  The TCAP scandal threatens to draw attention to their claims in a most unflattering way.

Tennessee’s Rep. Billy Spivey and Sen. Janice Bowling have officially requested state Comptroller Justin Wilson investigate the expenditures and conduct of the Department of Education regarding last week’s “delay” in releasing TCAP scores…..  “A visible level of distrust exists between…Directors of Schools and the Department of Education, as well as some members of the General Assembly and the Department,”  said Spivey and Bowling….


Delaware will face the same next year!  We have taken the trial Smart Balanced Assessments and we know the results will be dismal because after all, the test is too hard for average grown adults to pass, much less little children…  If children know they will be held back for not having a perfect test, it could make Delaware’s child suicides jump over 120%…

If there is ANY, ANY, ANY, legislator who has not yet publicly taken the Smart Balanced Assessment themselves….. they are not fit to inflict it by voting it upon our children. We know the DCAS works.  We keep what works UNTIL the other tests are solid…. Not throw money away like we did on Fisker, Bloom Energy, Kinder Morgan, and the TDC….

It’s the test stupid…. ITTS!  Legislators! You have a phone. Call Tennessee!

As an addendum, here is a copy of the surprise announcement…..




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.

Thank you

Erin O’Hara
(Tennessee) Assistant Commissioner for Data & Research