Knox County report cards delayed, TCAP scores won't factor in fi

Knox County report cards delayed, TCAP scores won't factor in final grades

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Knox County report cards will be delayed for students in grades 3-8 because of a delay in TCAP scores. Knox County report cards will be delayed for students in grades 3-8 because of a delay in TCAP scores.
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Report cards across Knox County will be delayed for students in grades 3-8 because of a delay in receiving TCAP scores from the state. The system, however, plans to send out preliminary report cards next week that do not include the TCAP scores. A waiver granted by the state due to the delay means TCAP scores will not have to be included in final grades.

Tennessee state law requires scores from the TCAP test to be included in second semester grades, but that won't be necessary this year.

According to a letter sent out to parents of Knox County schools, “if the waiver is granted, preliminary grades in report cards sent out next week will become the final grades.”

The waiver was granted Wednesday to Knox County Schools, as well as all other school systems in the state that applied for one.

"We have reached out to each school district to let superintendents know that they can apply for a waiver if this creates an operational challenge for them. We have already granted waivers to districts that have made these requests," said Tennessee Department of Education spokesperson Kelli Gauthier in a statement to 6 News.

Report cards were supposed to be provided to students in grades 3-8 on the last day of school Wednesday. Now they are expected to be mailed to parents the week of May 26.

It was frustrating for parents who picked up their children Wednesday.

"It's a little disappointing, my fifth grader has worked hard, I think its good for them on the last day to see the fruits on their labor," said Knox County parent Amy King.

Grades decide placement for students for the upcoming year as well summer school.

"Basically if he doesn't get a good enough grade for disciplinary reasons  he'll have to go to summer school," said parent Jennifer Leadbetter. "So at this point we have no idea, if grades aren't coming out, we have absolutely no idea what we're doing."

We asked superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre about the delay.

"There could be a handful of students that we will have to make that decision on a case by case basis," said Dr. McIntyre.

The superintendent said the delay in scores has been problematic.

"It created some real logistical and communication challenges for us as a school system," he explained.

He said questions should be asked of the Tennessee Department of Education.

"I think the Tennessee Department of Education is going to have to ask, do we have the capacity, do we have the processes, do we have the logistical ability to make sure that  data is available so school districts can comply with the law or not," said Dr. McIntyre.

We asked the state for a response. They supplied us with the letter they sent to the school districts. It says the scores were delayed because they needed "to review the data more thoroughly before finalizing quick scores and given the number of changes made this year, we want to do this before releasing scores."

The letter goes on to say the extra review will likely be the procprocessthe future. The spokesperson did not respond to questions about if this means scores will be delayed past the point when grades are due.

Blount County Schools also sent a letter to parents Wednesday indicating their third through eighth grade report cards would also be delayed because of the delay in TCAP scores.

"Individual school plans for the distribution of report cards once the TCAP achievement scores are released will be posted on the school websites," read the letter.

State representative and teacher Gloria Johnson said teachers and students are held to high standards of accountability and says the Department of Education should be as well.

"The Commissioner of Education can say normally these tests really matter but we didn't get our data done in time so I'm going to wave my magic wand and the scores will go away, what does that say to the kids that worked really hard on that test? Well if it doesn't matter we'll make it go away, is a child ever going to take a tcap test seriously ever again?" Johnson asked.

The state teacher's union sent out a statement today calling into question the future of the TCAPs.

“This delay is unacceptable and further illustrates the many consequences of making a one-time standardized test the be-all, end-all for our students and teachers,” said Gera Summerford, TEA president and Sevier County math teacher. “School districts being unable to calculate final grades creates a domino effect of problems for everyone from the local director of schools right down to the students.”

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