Suit Claims Use of TVAAS Estimates is Unconstitutional

John Michaelson, Tennessee News Service

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The first of what is expected to be many lawsuits over test scores and teachers’ pay in Tennessee has been filed against the Knox County Board of Education. The suit claims that a local teacher was denied a bonus after being misled about how her Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS) estimate would be calculated.

Knox County Education Association President Tonya T. Coats explained, “We want to be held accountable for what we’re teaching the students and how we’re treating students. However, we want to make sure again that it’s fair and it’s equitable and that it’s consistent.”

The lawsuit, brought by the Tennessee Education Association, also contests the arbitrariness of TVAAS estimates that use test results of only a small segment of a teacher’s students to determine overall effectiveness. When asked for a response to the lawsuit, an official with the Knox County Board of Education said they do not comment on pending litigation.

In addition to concerns that TVAAS estimates do not always truly reflect teacher performance, Coats noted issues with students only being tested at the end of the school year, as well.

“We have asked to do a pre- and post-test, but it’s just a test that’s given once a year and it’s not multiple measures that we have asked for over a period of time,” Coats said.

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