Chamber Report Recommends More Accountability for Nashville Schools

In the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce's 19th annual report card on local schools, business leaders have outlined recommendations making the district more user-friendly for parents and making schools more accountable for student scores on ACT college entrance exams, writes Julie Hubbard at The Tennessean.

In the report, business leaders outlined how they want more of a focus on how many students score a 21 on the ACT, which is the threshold to qualify for a state-funded HOPE scholarship.

"We had a lot of kids who didn't move up the ramp as quickly as they need to," said committee Co-Chairman Ron Corbin.

"What gets measured gets done, and the ACT is one of the most comprehensive measures you can have relative to college preparedness and job readiness."

The chamber wants to see the state Department of Education to use the scores from the test that every high school student must take, and use them to evaluate whether the schools are making adequate process.

Tennessee has applied to the federal government to opt out of No Child Left Behind and set its own measuring system for schools.

The chamber report also recommended that schools use more data from new software that tracks individual student attendance, discipline, benchmark testing results and other trends.

"We didn't sort through what that should look like, but it was inspired by a teacher talking to our committee who said if you want to communicate to parents effectively, you have to do it on intervals and methods intuitive to them," said Marc Hill, chief policy officer for the chamber.

The report contains pages of polling and performance data, highlighting aspects such as the fact that public perception of schools' performance has been almost flat for four years.

A district spokeswoman said leaders are already working on some of the suggestions.

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