In response to the widespread closures of Tennessee school districts due to the coronavirus outbreak, the General Assembly approved a measure to cancel requirements for standardized tests such as the TNReady assessment for the 2019 – 2020 school year. The proposal, filed under House Bill 2818 and Senate Bill 2672, was sent to Governor Bill Lee on March 24. Federal education officials must still approve a waiver for the standardized tests which was submitted by the state Department of Education. Meanwhile, many school systems, including Cheatham County, will not be returning to classes until late April.
“This has been uncharted territory for our school district. We appreciate the Tennessee General Assembly for quickly crafting this legislation and approving these critical measures. We believe it resolves a lot of concern by administrators, teachers and students during these difficult and uncertain times,” said Tim Adkins, Cheatham County School District Communications Director.
While the plan allows school systems to give the tests voluntarily and not have the results count for or against students, Cheatham County School District officials said they “have decided that students will not voluntarily take the TNReady tests this school year,” according to Adkins. “However, we have other assessments and measurements already in place that we will utilize when we are able to return to school,” he said.
Those other assessments will not include final exams, Adkins said. “It is our hope that we will return to school on Monday, April 27. However, before any decision is made to resume our regular schedule, we will continue to seek recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Health officials. When we return to school, we hope to finish the year strong and celebrate the many achievements of our students, specifically our seniors. Our high school students will not take end-of-course exams and our principals will work closely with our teachers and students about how to complete any unfinished projects,” he explained.
As far as high school commencement ceremonies are concerned, they are still on schedule, Adkins said. “We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation as we head into May and we will let our families know if these ceremonies can move forward,” he said.