Huffman Admits TCAP Not “Strong”

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!

3 thoughts on “Huffman Admits TCAP Not “Strong”

  1. Be careful what you wish for! The next testing fiasco is the PARCC assessment. Wait until you see the absurdity of that one. Not to mention the cost per child compared to TCAP. This one’s a doozy!
    Please do a little more research into this and a company called Pearson Education. You will be even more amazed and fed up than you are.

    • Thank you for your comment. We are aware of the PARCC and have written previous posts on it. The PARCC is definitely more frightening (for lack of a better term) than the TCAP. The point of this post is to encourage the state to drop the TCAP for its final year, like CA has done, since it is not a “good” test anyway. We will continue the fight against PARCC as well.

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