The Knox County School Board met this past Wednesday, February 2, 2011, for their monthly board meeting. The meeting was held in the City County Building, located in downtown Knoxville, at 5 p.m. in the Main Assembly Room. Nine out of ten board members were present. Central High School color guard was in appearance at the meeting.
Agenda items included the recommended approval of a new policy concerning the use of Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, TCAP, scores. The policy called for the scores to be implemented into students’ second semester grades in the subject areas of mathematics, reading/language arts, science and social studies, provided the scores could be returned in a timely manner.
Once effective, students’ TCAP scores, in grades three through eight, will compose of 15% of their spring semester grades in the listed subjects. “The policy will put us into alignment with the state law that was recently passed requiring that TCAPs be a part of student grades,” said Melissa Copelan, Knox County Board of Education member and Director of Public Affairs.
The policy was approved without objection among board members at Wednesday night’s meeting, although was briefly discussed prior at the board’s work session on January 31st. Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. James P. McIntyre, Jr. explained the policy to the board during the January 31st work session, stating that he believed the rationale behind the policy would be to emphasize to parents and teachers the importance of the exams.
Dr. McIntyre reminded the board that the practice of grade integration of TCAP scores is already required in secondary schools of Knox County during his introduction of the policy at the work session. All work sessions prior to board meetings may be viewed on the Knox County Schools’ website, KnoxSchools.org under the “KCS TV” selection.
“Education is not one size fits all,” said Diane Bass, a special education teacher at Farragut Intermediate for 31 years. According to Ms. Bass, while accommodations may be made for special education students such as reading aloud or small group settings, remaining focused for the duration of a standardized test can put these students at a disadvantage should the scores impact their grades. “On the other hand, 15% is a small percentage, and might have some students taking the exam more serious,” said Ms. Bass.
“This policy may need some readjusting,” said Ms. Bass. As the policy was approved on a first read basis, perhaps the board may agree. Knox County’s Board of Education’s next school board meeting is set for Wednesday, March 2nd. Upcoming work session videos and the meeting agenda may be viewed on Knox County Schools’ website, KnoxSchools.org.