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Cathy Whitehead, Tennessee’s 2015-16 Teacher of the Year, is a third-grade teacher from Chester County.

Cathy Whitehead, Tennessee’s 2015-16 Teacher of the Year, is a third-grade teacher from Chester County.

Expect More, Achieve More

TV ad promotes Tennessee’s new TNReady test

TNReady has made its debut in Tennessee classrooms. Now an advertisement touting the purpose of the state’s new assessment is about to make its debut on television.

The 30-second ad, featuring Tennessee teacher of the year Cathy Whitehead, assures viewers that the state’s students are “ready for TNReady” and urges students, parents and teachers to embrace the test.

The ad is scheduled for airings later this month, just as the state’s window for the second part of TNReady testing begins on April 25.

The promotion was produced and paid for by Expect More, Achieve More, a coalition of more than 100 business, community and education organizations supporting high K-12 academic standards in Tennessee. The group was organized in 2012 under the leadership of the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, a research and advocacy group founded by former U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee.

SCORE spokeswoman Teresa Wasson said no state funds were used to produce the ad.

“We thought it was important to hear from a teacher who represents all Tennessee teachers, who have worked really hard to make sure students are prepared,” Wasson said Tuesday.

In the ad, which also can be viewed on YouTube, Whitehead offers narration over video footage showing her third-grade students at West Chester Elementary School in Henderson in West Tennessee.

“This year, we’re moving to a new test called TN Ready, to help teachers and parents know exactly what our kids are learning and the areas that need more attention to help your child succeed,” she says.

TNReady has been beset with problems in its first year, beginning with a network outage on Feb. 8 that derailed the switch to online testing. The subsequent switch back to paper-based tests was plagued by delivery delays as the testing vendor struggled to print and distribute a large number of tests in a short period of time. Some parents and teachers — already concerned about the amount of testing in schools — have become increasingly vocal in their opposition to the assessment. A small number of parents have said they plan for their children to opt out of Part II testing.

The Tennessee Department of Education has rolled back some of the accountability measures associated with the test while emphasizing that TNReady is critical to its system of accountability for students, educators, schools and districts.