The Tennessee Department of Education 2009 Report Card will look a lot different than previous years, according to department officials. The state's top measure of the academic performance of students statewide will likely reflect lower scores for the school year, but this isn't because of falling performance.
Thanks to the increase in standards required by the Tennessee Diploma Project, the 2009 Report Card will not be comparable to other years' scores.
TDP was established in 2008 as a branch of the American Diploma Project. Its goal is to build public and stakeholder support for raising standards and making sure tests and graduation requirements reflect skills that prepare students work force training or college.
The new curriculum was introduced during the 2009-2010 school year. Students will be tested on the material in the spring. Those 2009 results should not be compared to past years, said Amanda Anderson, deputy director of communications for the department. School should be evaluated by comparing the performance of a district with the statewide average.
“Once you change the curriculum, you're going to have to make an assessment change, then you're going to have to look at your data change,” Anderson said. “Once you make one change, you're going to have to go on down the line and recalibrate everything.”
The scores from the 2009 school year will be the new baseline for comparing the scores down the line. Previously, the state had used the 1998 as the baseline.
“That's over 10 years old now. Because we've moved to the new curriculum and standards, it was necessary to make this shift at this time,” Anderson said.
In addition to setting the baseline to the 2009 scores, a revised and more rigorous scale has also been introduced to determine what constitutes the A through F grade on the report card, raising the standard of proficiency students need for the designations.