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How Tennessee’s testing snafus impact kids and educators — in their own words

After a second day of testing setbacks, Tennessee educators, parents, and students needed to vent about the state test, TNReady.

On Tuesday, State Department of Education officials said that online testing malfunctions were due to a possible “direct attack” on the testing system.

Whatever the cause, the chaos around state testing so far could have real consequences for students and educators. The problems surrounding this week’s testing aren’t just an inconvenience for schools. The results of exams are supposed to be factored into students’ final grades and teachers’ evaluation scores, as well as used to rank individual schools under the state’s evaluation system — which determines whether or not schools stay open.

We asked educators, parents, and students how this week’s testing snafus have impacted them personally. Here are some of your responses:

“I don’t understand why they keep trying online testing. For THREE YEARS IN A ROW, they cannot manage to keep a functioning test. Also, I suggest you look at John Oliver’s bit on standardized testing. It’s really funny and we can all relate to it.” — Foster Vaughn, student at Brentwood High School in Williamson County

“I’ve never thought about opting my children out of the test until now. But to get these students all pumped up for a test and then completely fall flat on the execution twice in a row is completely unacceptable, so it’s going to take a lot to convince me that I should make them take it next year.” — Tracy O’Conner, Shelby County parent

“I’m in five Advanced Placement classes. Not only do we have state testing this week, but we’re trying to practice for classes that could impact us in college. But I think teachers are really the victims of all of this — it’s wasting precious time and they have to plan and replan. There has to be an easier way than this where the students and schools don’t have to have chaotic weeks.” — Amal Altareb, student at Central High School in Shelby County Schools

“If you’ve geared up for the test and you’ve asked the kids to get a good night’s sleep and then you have to stop and start again it’s just frustrating.  It just speaks to how much is riding on these tests. It counts for your final grade, it counts for teacher’s (evaluations), it counts for purposes of determining which schools are Rewards schools or Priority schools and whether the state’s going to take schools over.” — Dorsey Hopson, superintendent of Shelby County Schools

“I am just wondering what the point of this testing is. I didn’t even receive the results from my son’s third-grade testing until halfway through his fourth-grade year. The whole thing seems to be a hot mess!” — Amanda Dashler, Chattanooga parent

“Student morale is a key component of how well a student does on a test. Losing work, being disrupted mid-exam, and constant delays affect students negatively… We are approaching a point where the entire testing system is becoming questionable.” — Barbara Gray, president of the Tennessee Education Association

“The testing chaos is affirming what my seniors already know. The tests don’t actually matter (teachers know this isn’t the case), but my seniors have gone through four years of high school and numerous end-of-course tests only to never have them factored into their grades for a course. Knowing this to be true, I’m left wondering why teachers and schools continue to be crushed by scores when student apathy is growing due to a testing fatigue that is prevalent in the schools.” — Anonymous Shelby County Schools English teacher

The post How Tennessee’s testing snafus impact kids and educators — in their own words appeared first on Chalkbeat.

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