Higher standards mean higher expectations
Parents with children in the Knox County Schools will be receiving their child’s Individual Student Performance reports on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010. Individual Student Performance reports provide a comprehensive review of how students performed on the state’s Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) tests taken in Spring 2010. Dr. Jim McIntyre, Superintendent of the Knox County Schools, will host a news conference on Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 1:30 p.m. at Karns Middle School to discuss the results.
This year parents will notice some changes as the result of reforms at the state levels.
Tennessee adopted revised academic standards through the Tennessee Diploma Project in 2008 and during the 2009-2010 school year, students completed their first year of learning and testing on those standards. The tests given in 2009-2010 reflect not only revised academic standards, but a much higher bar for the “proficient” and “advanced” levels of performance.
“Parents should understand that while our scores may not look as favorable in the short-term due to higher expectations, it does not mean their children are learning less under the new standards. In fact, they are almost certainly learning more – we’ve just raised the bar academically,” said McIntyre. “Supporting these higher academic standards is absolutely the right thing to do to ensure our children receive a high quality education and have the opportunity to be academically successful, economically competitive, and personally fulfilled.”
The performance report this year will include new levels – “basic” and “below basic” - that are used to help identify how far students need to progress to be proficient.
A new definition of proficiency now indicates a mastery of knowledge in a subject rather than minimal understanding. The combination of higher standards and proficiency means, ultimately, more students will be college and career ready. But it also means harder tests, and a potential dip in the immediate future with lower test scores and performance at the school level.
“While challenging in the short term, these changes mean that our students will be better prepared for long-term success in an increasingly complex world and an increasingly global economy,” said McIntyre. “They will be better prepared to not only compete with their peers in Tennessee, but with their peers in high-performing nations across the world.”
The Knox County Schools is dedicated to helping parents during this transition, including providing comprehensive information regarding higher standards, TCAP results, and resources for parents to utilize for help on its website at knoxschools.org. If parents have questions about student test scores, please contact our schools -- we will work together for each student’s success.