Tennessee’s elementary school students received a letter of encouragement from Gov. Bill Haslam and a No. 2 pencil courtesy of an education advocacy group that wants to see good scores on the state’s new standardized test.
Both were distributed through schools to students in grades 3-5 in the weeks leading up to TNReady. The testing window opened on Monday and continues through May 5.
“You may be wondering why you take TNReady,” wrote Haslam in his April 10 letter. “In a lot of ways, TNReady is like a yearly check-up with your doctor. Just as a check-up lets your doctor know if you’re growing and healthy, TNReady lets your parents know if you’re growing in school.”
Haslam, who often says he wants to be remembered as Tennessee’s “education governor,” encouraged students to “do (their) best.”
“The stage is set for you,” he writes.
The distribution was organized by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, or SCORE, a Nashville-based think tank and advocacy group that works closely with the State Department of Education. No taxpayer money was used.
“We appreciate that Governor Haslam sent a message of support to students who were taking TNReady for the first time to reassure them the assessment is simply an opportunity to show what they know and can do,” SCORE spokeswoman Teresa Wasson said on Tuesday. “Most teachers and students believe a few words of encouragement are positive, helpful, and welcome.”
TNReady is getting a full-court press as the state seeks to reset its system of testing accountability a year after the assessment’s troubled rollout. Most of last year’s tests were canceled due to technical and logistical problems. TNReady has gotten off to a smooth start this year under the State Department of Education’s new testing company.
The full letter is below.