School Board initially approves revisions to testing programs policy

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By Bill Short
The Millington School Board this week unanimously approved on first reading revisions to its policy on testing programs.
Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Mark Coulter and seconded by Roger Christopher.
The revisions, recommended by the Tennessee School Board Association, are scheduled for approval on final reading at the board’s March 2 meeting. The policy was initially approved in February 2018.
It required the board to provide for a systemwide testing program that is periodically reviewed and evaluated. The program’s purposes are to:
(1) assist in promoting accountability and determine the progress of students;
(2) assess the effectiveness of the instructional program and student learning;
(3) aid in counseling and guiding students in planning future education and other endeavors;
(4) analyze the improvements needed in each instructional area;
(5) assist in the screening of students with learning difficulties and placing students in remedial programs;
(6) provide information for college entrance and placement; and
(7) assist in educational research by providing data.
Superintendent James “Bo” Griffin is responsible for planning and implementing the program, which includes:
(1) determining specific purposes for each test;
(2) selecting the appropriate test to be given and establishing procedures for administering the tests;
(3) making provisions for interpreting and disseminating the results;
(4) maintaining testing information in a consistent and confidential manner; and 
(5) ensuring that results are obtained as quickly as possible, especially, when placement in a special learning program might be necessary.
State-mandated student testing programs are undertaken in accordance with procedures published by the Tennessee Department of Education.
TNReady and End of Course test scores for students in grades 3-12 are included in their final grades during the spring semester.
The “Target Score Methodology” is used to calculate student TCAP/EOC scores.
Griffin can exclude these scores from students’ final grades if results are not received by the district at least five instructional days before the end of the course.
Proposed revisions to the policy are that “interest inventories” would be made available to ninth-graders, including the Kuder assessment, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the ASVAB or the College Board Career Finder.
Career aptitude assessments would be administered to seventh-graders in order to inform their high school plan of study.
Under the current policy, any test directly concerned with measuring student ability or achievement through individual or group “psychological or socio-metric” tests are not administered by or with the knowledge of any employee of the system without first obtaining written consent of the parent or guardian.
Results of all group tests are recorded on students’ permanent records and are made available to appropriate personnel in accordance with established procedures.
No later than July 31 of each year, the board publishes information on its Web site related to state- and board-mandated tests that are administered during the school year. The information includes the:
(1) name, purpose and use of the test;
(2) grade or class in which the test is administered and the tentative date or dates for its administration;
(3) time and manner in which parents or guardians and students are notified of the results of the test and how they can access the questions and answers of state-required tests;
(4) manner in which a board-mandated test complements and enhances student instruction and serves a purpose distinct from state-required tests.
Testing information is also placed in student handbooks or other school publications and provided to parents or guardians on an annual basis.