A month into the school year, the first round of standardized testing has begun across Tennessee.
Schools will administer 14 state-mandated tests this year, with testing windows spanning every month.
School systems also can administer optional state tests and their own standardized tests. For instance, the state’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is considering adding an optional state test for second-graders in the spring.
The first round of testing began on Wednesday in Shelby County Schools. Those short tests are meant to highlight students’ weaknesses in math and English as part of the state’s Response to Instruction and Intervention program, known as RTI-squared, now in its third year.
Concerns about over-testing have dominated national education headlines in recent years including Tennessee, where Education Commissioner Candice McQueen has convened a second statewide task force to explore which other state-mandated tests can be cut. Earlier this year, the legislature approved trimming end-of-year TCAPs and eliminating assessments for eighth- and tenth-graders this school year.
Many educators and parents worry that students spend too much time preparing for and taking tests, to the detriment of learning. But educators and policymakers also value testing data for its role in decision-making and accountability, ensuring that historically underserved students, especially students of color, are being served.
Here’s the complete list of tests for Shelby County Schools for the 2016-17 school year. Don’t live in Shelby County? State law requires each district to post a comprehensive list of standardized assessments on its website
Note: Students don’t test every day of a testing window. The dates outline what days that schools can choose to administer individual tests.