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State suspends 'accountability measures' tied to standardized tests

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Posted at 9:22 PM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-19 12:03:34-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Governor Bill Lee announced on Friday that student standardized test results won't impact teacher evaluations for the 2020-2021 school year.

In a news conference, Lee said schools and teachers would not face negative consequences associated with the tests students take in the spring.

"Accountability and teacher evaluations should be paused this year," Lee said in the news conference, citing the unique learning conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's just a tremendous, tremendous sense of relief," Amanda Kail, the president of the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association, said. Kail added that the uncertainty around testing and evaluations has been an added source of stress for teachers in a school year that has already been filled with difficulties. "Teachers have been extremely stressed out trying to meet all of their requirements, being worried about their own health, and then having the stress of test scores on top it."

But even though their ties to evaluation have been paused, the tests will still happen. Lee said they are an important tool in keeping track of student's progress.

"We can't fill in the gaps with reading or math or learning loss without understanding where they are," Lee said.

"I think it's a waste of time and a terrible waste of taxpayer money," Kail argued. "The tests are supposed to measure growth from one year to the next, and with all of these problems happening, it's not accurately doing that."

Lee said he is working with state lawmakers to create the suspension, which needs approval from the General Assembly. Educators said they are anxious to see the final details of the move.