Expect More, Achieve More
In 2008, the United States Chamber of Commerce gave Tennessee an "F" for Truth in Advertising as students were scoring high on state tests but low on national tests. This lead educators to declare that Tennessee's state standards were too low in comparison to the rest of the nation.
That same year, the Tennessee Department of Education revamped the state standards and raised the rigor of what children need to learn in each grade level. These new standards are considered some of the toughest in the nation, second only to those in Massachusetts. These new standards went into effect in July 2009. Students in grades 3-8 took a new test in Spring 2010 based on these new standards.
These standards are comparable to those across the nation, challenging our students to learn more each year so they can be truly competitive in the global economy. As we expect more, our children will achieve more.
While the new standards are a good thing, they will likely result in lower test scores this year. The new system has four categories:
- Below basic
Preliminary data from the state indicates that only 50% of students in Tennessee scored proficient in reading and math this year. Individual studetn results were sent home the week of October 11.
These anticipated lower scores, however, do not mean that our students are not learning. Rather, our students are learning more than ever before but the bar by which we measure that achievement has been raised. This rigor is necessary to prepare our students for college or the workplace and equip them with the skills needed to compete with their global counterparts. As such, this new benchmark, while hard to accept in the short term, will have positive benefits for students around our county.