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School Accountability Expert John Tanner Kicks Off Georgia Tour in Dalton

Tuesday, May 2, 2017  
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John Tanner talks about testing and accountability to more than 200 educators at
the Dalton Convention Center on Monday, May 1. It was the first of five statewide



Standards-based state testing fails to provide the data policymakers and communities believe that they do, according to a school accountability expert. John Tanner, a testing and accountability researcher was at the Dalton Convention Center on Monday as he kicked off a statewide tour sponsored by PAGE (Professional Association of Georgia Educators).

More than 200 educators, community members and business leaders heard Tanner present the case that community-designed accountability systems created by local stakeholders is the most meaningful school accountability. Tanner shared the foundational issues with testing constructs that are designed to find an average that does not exist in the real world of children and learning. And, according to multiple studies, only about one-third of the result of a standardized test can be attributed to a school’s influence. Standardized tests really function to reveal a student’s socio-economic status.


“Tell me a child’s poverty level and I can tell you within a narrow range how that child will perform on a standardized test,” Tanner said.


Tanner shared that he is not anti-testing, anti-accountability or “anti-anything, really.” The purpose of his research and his message to teachers, school administrators, policymakers and communities is that testing has a specific focus and design and the results are misapplied and misused when they are the primary measure for success and failure of schools. In particular, the use of testing results to grade schools using an A-F ranking are a disservice to schools.


“This is such an important message for Georgia,” said Dr. Allene Magill, PAGE executive director. “This conversation is especially timely as our state leaders prepare to implement the First Priority Act to address struggling schools and for educators and communities to have the information necessary to respond to letter grade rankings of their schools.”


Tanner will present around the state Tuesday-Thursday in Macon, Valdosta and Camilla. He’ll be in Waynesboro on Wednesday, May 10.


Tanner is the executive director of Test Sense, an educational consulting firm, and the director of the Texas Performance Assessment Consortium, a project in which 40 school districts have joined forces to build a community-based accountability system for their schools.


With more than 92,000 members throughout Georgia, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators is Georgia’s largest and the nation’s second largest independent association for educators.

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