Watch the meeting recording here.  

View meeting materials here

1. Commissioner Schwinn shared school funding reform updates, including a three-month timeline and local match discussions. 

Commissioner Schwinn shared that TDOE determined their three-month timeline to revise the state’s funding formula after conducting a 50-state scan, focusing on states that most recently made legislative revisions. They concluded that states with expedited timelines had more engagement and focus than states who had a longer timeline. Also, the Commissioner shared they want to use some of the over $4.5 billion ESSER funding to ease the transition to the new formula. In addition to the 18 subcommittees collecting feedback on school funding, the Commissioner mentioned that school board members, county commissioners, and superintendents will have parallel conversations to discuss local match funds, or money that local jurisdictions must contribute to receive money from the current BEP funding formula. 

2. The State Board voted to delay increasing edTPA teacher licensure cut score and may be open further discussion about the assessment. 

The edTPA is a portfolio-based licensure assessment created by Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE). It is designed to measure prospective teachers’ pedagogical skills. Tennessee requires the test for licensure and sets the passing, or cut, score. While phasing in the edTPA, they planned to gradually increase the cut score from 40 to 42 in January 2022. While test makers recommended this cut score, only California is currently higher at 41. Education Preparation Programs (EPPs) shared with State Board staff that candidates are struggling to complete licensure requirements due to COVID, and many districts face teacher shortages. Additionally, research suggests increasing cut scores on licensure exams can exclude effective teachers and negatively impact teacher diversity, outcomes for students of color, and hiring in hard-to-staff subjects and regions. As a result, State Board members voted to approve a one-year delay before increasing the cut score. State Board staff noted that they are studying whether edTPA scores are correlated with higher classroom observations and student test scores and may want to discuss edTPA and cut scores in the future. 

3. The State Board postponed approving Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) pending legislation that allows the State to set goals with 2020-21 data that accounts for the pandemic’s impact. 

Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs), set by TNSBE in conjunction with the Commissioner, provide schools and districts with targets to understand recent performance and prioritize future efforts. Additionally, they are used in our accountability model. During the July 2021 State Board Meeting, members discussed the limitations of using pre-pandemic 2018-19 data to set AMOs because it wouldn’t account for the pandemic’s impact on student test scores. However, state law currently doesn’t allow 2020-21 data to set AMOs. Based on stakeholder feedback, Representative Mark White, chair of the Education Administration Committee, will introduce legislation that enables the State to use 2020-21 data instead. TDOE will share both 2018-19 and 2020-21 AMOs with districts to plan for both possibilities. 

4. English learners and Black and Latino students in Tennessee are less likely to enroll in dual enrollment despite an 84% increase in statewide participation and strong outcomes for participants. 

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) presented dual enrollment data trends to the State Board. From fall 2011 to fall 2021, the dual enrollment grant use has increased by 84% across the state. However, enrollment differs across student identity. For example, Black & Latino students, English Learners, students with disabilities, and students in the foster care system were less likely to take dual enrollment courses. THEC staff identified that not all students are taking full advantage of available grants, which may explain differences in enrollment. Additionally, students must meet with their counselor, satisfy the individual college’s admission criteria, and funds cannot be used for summer classes. Dual enrollment can positively impact college enrollment, GPA, retention, and attainment. Therefore, it is critical to ensure students have equitable access to dual enrollment. 

5. Five schools exited state priority status, including Woodmore and Clifton Hills Elementary in Hamilton County. 

In alignment with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states are required to publicly identify schools in the bottom five percent across multiple measures, including student test scores and chronic absenteeism. Even though no new priority schools were named due to hold harmless protections, states could still exit priority status by scoring higher than the bottom five percent. Five elementary schools exited priority status, including Jellico (Campbell), Rosebank (Davidson), Clifton Hills and Woodmore (Hamilton), and Sheffield (Shelby). This is a tremendous accomplishment in light of the pandemic, where student achievement struggled across most student groups and subjects, including students from low-income backgrounds and English learners. Additionally, 74% of Woodmore Elementary’s student population are from low-income backgrounds, and 50% of Clifton Hills Elementary are English learners.

Equity Considerations

  • How will the State Board consider educator licensure exams’ impact on teacher diversity and outcomes for students of color?
  • How did students from low-income backgrounds participate in dual enrollment relative to their peers?
  • What plans do the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC), and Department of Education (TDOE) have to increase participation in dual enrollment across different student groups?