On September 20th, during a Senate Education Committee hearing on Common Core, TN Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman made a statement that we believe should have been plastered on the front page of every newspaper in the state: “But TCAP, I think most educators would say is inherently not a very strong test, not as strong as what we’re aspiring to do because, ya know, it’s a multiple choice test and, um, it doesn’t have significant critical thinking or problem solving… ” (Go to this link and forward to 57:50 to hear this quote for yourself.)
So, let us get this straight: Children are being denied valuable classroom instruction, experiencing undue anxiety and stress, and receiving little–if any–recess time so they can prepare to take a test that is “not very strong”? And teacher job security and licensure depends upon student performance on this very same test? A test that, by our Commissioner’s own admission, does not contain “significant critical thinking or problem solving.”
Parents, teachers, and students have known for years that the TCAP is not a “strong test”, nor does it accurately predict a child’s ability to think critically or problem solve. Clearly, Mr. Huffman is aware of the limitations of TCAP as well. Which begs the questions:
1) Why did Mr. Huffman and the Department of Education, in spite of this knowledge, continue to create and endorse misguided policies based on this test?
2) Why does the DOE state that parents must allow children to take the TCAP when it clearly is not a “strong test”? (Parents: If you choose to refuse the TCAP for your children this year, please feel free to cut and paste Mr. Huffman’s quote into your refusal letter.)
3) And why, now that Mr. Huffman has admitted the weaknesses of this test, are we giving the TCAP this school year—especially since the TCAP does not test the Common Core standards that our children are currently being taught?
California recently axed their state standardized test for this school year. Let’s follow in their footsteps and scrap the TCAP!