One year after Tennessee introduced standardized tests that promised more rigor for public school students, the state will embark on another overhaul, this time on a much larger scale.

TN_Flag_2One year after Tennessee introduced standardized tests that promised more rigor for public school students, the state will embark on another overhaul, this time on a much larger scale.

Tennessee and 25 other states teamed up to develop English and math tests for public school students in third grade through high school. Collectively, the states will receive a $170 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the effort.

The new exams will be administered by computer during the 2014-15 school year, going beyond the traditional fill-in-the-bubble approach and measuring whether students grasp complex ideas. For the first time, thousands of students across the country will be learning the same thing at the same time and using the same measurement.

It’s a huge step toward a national test and curriculum, shunned in the past in favor of states’ rights.

“This is the closest we’ve come to national standards and national assessment, but it is also the farthest we’ve ever gotten because of limited federal involvement and very strong state leadership,” said Mike Cohen, president of Achieve, an educational nonprofit helping to manage the partnership among the 26 states debuting the new test.

Ten plus the District of Columbia emerged as leaders in the effort, giving those state leaders more influence on exam development: Tennessee, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island.

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Source: Jaime Sarrio | The Tennessean