By David Carroll

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- The Tennessee Department of Education announced Wednesday that the release of the State Report Card and Adequate Yearly Progress data has been delayed again.  First scheduled for a November release, then twice more in December, the reports are now scheduled for public release in early January 2011.

Commissioner of Education Bruce Opie said officials are using extra caution due to increased standards and assessments.  "We are in no way trying to adjust the numbers to please the public or make anyone look better.  The changes we have dealt with are unprecedented, and we are making an extra effort to avoid human error or any misrepresentation.  The stakes are very high."

Even though the testing was conducted in April 2010, Opie said the delay in public release is not affecting how school districts are using the data.  He says they have had access to information from the test results since June, and have been able to make necessary adjustments. 


Here is the release from the Tennessee Department of Education:


The Department of Education is releasing: (1) Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) data, or how well school districts performed in meeting academic benchmarks under the federal No Child Left Behind law and (2) the State Report Card on Pre-K-12 education, which includes state, district and school-level information on achievement, demographics and discipline.
• We are currently processing school district AYP appeals and do not have final data. However, we are not seeing the drastic increase in the number of schools in high priority status that was previously anticipated.
• This is not an announcement to label schools as failing. Across the state, schools faced a big hurdle with increased standards and assessments. This data should be viewed as a tool for driving change for those schools that need improvement. We expect to see dramatic gains in student performance on these assessments in the years to come.
• Tennessee is not standing still. The $500 million Race to the Top grant has awarded resources on the state and district levels that will pay for more intensive teacher training to help students reach the standards and make sure that their schools are getting the support they need to excel.
• Tennessee's First to the Top initiative raises the bar. Rigorous student academic goals challenge state and local school districts to commit to transformational education reform. Those goals include increased performance in early grades reading, middle grades math and the overall gradation rate.
• The totality of these changes means our students will be better prepared. Even though a smaller number of students are in the proficient or advanced levels of performance now, the expected improvements mean our students will be more competitive and successful for their future in a global economy, amongst their peers in Tennessee, and against their peers in high-performing nations across the world.
• This year's data will reflect a baseline year for Tennessee students through the (1) the use of current year data for AYP and (2) new levels of student performance – "basic" and "below basic"-- as approved by the State Board of Education. Collectively these changes will provide a more accurate picture of student performance and help identify how much students need to progress to attain proficiency.
Overview of Calculations:
• This is a baseline year for calculating Adequate Yearly Progress based on the new academic benchmarks. The Department of Education consulted with the US Department of Education to amend the state's accountability workbook, the governing document outlining the state's education accountability system. The use of current year data only was recommended given the implementation of new standards and assessments.
• Two- and three-year averages will again be used in future year as comparable data is available.