School officials are hopeful that new benchmark tests that will be administered to elementary and middle school students in February will better prepare teachers and students for the state’s TNReady assessments in the spring.
The Sumner County Board of Education voted unanimously during a special-called meeting on Jan. 7 to approve a bid of $72,460 from TE21, Inc., to purchase pencil and paper tests for 6,819 elementary school students and 7,173 middle school students.
The assessments will be administered some time in February and will measure students’ understanding in the subjects of math, science, social students and ELA (English language arts), according to Sumner County Schools Spokesperson Jeremy Johnson.
Johnson said the tests will be given over a four-day period and will replace previous benchmark assessments.
He added that TE21, a Charleston, S.C.-based company, is a nationally recognized, gold-standard benchmark assessment used by several Tennessee counties, including Wilson County.
“This is another tool that will help our teachers assess their students’ learning and achieve a higher level of mastery of state standards,” Johnson said. “We think this will do a better job of helping teachers assess the skills students are expected to master at each grade level.”
“The TE21 benchmark assessment is unrivaled in its quality and will provide us with access to questions aligned with the TNReady test as well as providing data to our teachers and principals as they prepare for the spring TNReady assessment,” said Assistant Director of Schools for Instruction Scott Langford in a letter requesting the funding.
TNReady is a part of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) and is designed to assess a student’s true understanding of a subject, not just memorization and test-taking skills, according to information provided by the Tennessee Department of Education.