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TEA files lawsuit on behalf of Knox County teacher

The Tennessee Education Association has filed a lawsuit on the behalf of a Knox County teacher who believes she was unfairly denied a bonus as a result of her value-added test scores.

The statewide organization expects this TVAAS (Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System) lawsuit to be the first of many as more districts tie high-staked decisions to students’ achievement and growth scores on standardized tests.

Knox County Lisa Trout was denied a bonus after her value-added score was calculated.

“After being told she would receive the system-wide TVAAS estimate because of her position in an alternative school, a guidance counselor incorrectly claimed 10 of Ms. Trout’s students for her TVAAS score without her knowledge,” said TEA general counsel Richard Colbert in a press release. “As a result, Ms. Trout ultimately received a lower TVAAS estimate than she should have and was denied the APEX bonus she had earned.”

TEA’s lawsuit also contests the arbitrariness TVAAS estimates that use test results of only a small segment of a teacher’s students to estimate her overall effectiveness.

“Ms. Trout’s situation illustrates the fundamental problem with using statistical estimates for high-stakes decisions that affect teacher pay,” Colbert said. “Her case raises great concerns over the constitutionality of such practices.”

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