Meaningful Measures of Student learning - Page 2

Introduction Over the past several years, results from national assessments and reports revealed that Tennessee was failing to prepare students for success after high school. In 2007, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Leaders & Laggards report gave Tennessee an “F” for truth in advertising about student proficiency levels. While Tennessee reported that over 90 percent of students in grades 3-8 were proficient in math and reading, less than 30 percent of fourth-graders and eighth-graders in Tennessee were proficient on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).1 Table 1 illustrates the vast difference between the percentage of students reported to be proficient in math and reading on Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) tests and on NAEP in 2007: Tennessee’s “F” for Truth Advertising in 2007 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% 4th Grade Math 8th Grade Math % of students proficient or advanced on TCAP 4th Grade Reading 8th Grade Reading % of students proficient or advanced on NAEP Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2007) Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Educational Effectiveness Table 1 The National Center for Education Statistics published a report that found Tennessee’s math and reading proficiency standards in 2007 to be far below the “basic” level of proficiency set on NAEP.2 Further, Tennessee’s proficiency standards were the lowest in the country in eighth-grade reading, fourth-grade math, and eighth-grade math.3 These reports revealed that states were adopting proficiency standards for math and English language arts that were vastly inconsistent and, in some cases, exceptionally low. For Tennessee, these reports indicated that achieving proficiency on Tennessee standards and assessments did not necessarily mean students would exit high school prepared for college or to compete in the global workforce. Tennessee’s “F” for truth in advertising about student proficiency levels spurred collaborative action. In 2007, the state began developing the Tennessee Diploma Project standards, a set of academic standards more closely aligned with the skills and knowledge students needed to succeed in college and career. In 2008, the State Board of Education passed these new, more rigorous standards, indicating a new focus on college and career readiness.4 2