Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellow Secures Passage of Groundbreaking Fine Arts Assessment in Tennessee

Monday, August 20th, 2012


Hope Street Group, a national bipartisan organization whose mission is to convene the best leaders and practitioners across political aisles and collaborate with them to drive economic vitality and widespread prosperity for all Americans, congratulates Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellow Dru Davison and the state of Tennessee on the passage of the Fine Arts Student Growth Assessment by the Tennessee Department of Education. Davison chairs the Tennessee Fine Arts Growth Measures Development Committee, which developed this groundbreaking non-tested grades and subjects evaluation.

The Fine Arts Student Growth Assessment measures authentic student growth using a portfolio of student growth in the arts. The portfolio is based on a representative cross section of teacher-collected student work samples, gathered using a purposeful sampling process. Teachers pre-score their own artifacts and measure them against Tennessee’s Standards Based Curriculum before submitting them to a blind peer review committee, which is comprised of content specific, expert arts teachers. The peer review committee then scores the artifacts and determines student growth using pre-approved scoring guides carefully designed for each subject.

Says Davison, Chair of Arts Education for Memphis City Public Schools, “The Fine Arts Assessment was developed by teachers to be an authentic growth measure that captures performance and creativity in the arts, shows connection to other disciplines, and does not use standardized testing.  This is a big conceptual change in the education world–to have something created and evaluated by teachers.” Davison continues, “It is, in fact, a teacher empowerment system because teachers do the evaluating. This assessment encourages teachers to be part in shaping their profession. What better way to respect the profession than asking teachers to be part of process.”

The Hope Street Group Teacher Fellowship program brings together teachers and coaches who are leaders among their peers and who want to share their expertise and ideas in helping shape national policy. They participate in meaningful dialogue with other outstanding teachers from across the country to advocate for education policy changes, focusing on teacher evaluation.

Wendy Uptain, Hope Street Group’s Teacher Fellowship Manager says, “The Hope Street Group Teacher Fellowship program is designed to help teachers develop the skills they need to voice their ideas for improving education. It’s about teaching them to be innovative and solutions-oriented, to stand up for their ideas and to encourage their colleagues to do the same. Dru has embodied this effort. His work serves as an example to all teachers that they too can implement ideas to revolutionize the teaching profession.”

The Committee for Fine Arts, convened in 2011 by the Tennessee Department of Education to develop recommendations around student growth measures for non-tested grades and subjects (NTGS) developed their recommendations into a program that could be used to measure student growth in Fine Arts subject areas.  After extensive collaboration efforts with many organizations and Tennessee Fine Arts teachers, Davison and his team found funding and support from Memphis City Schools (MSC) and approval from the state to pilot the program for 2011-2012 school year.

Hope Street Group is a 501(c)3 organization working to strengthen the foundational underpinnings of our economy—education, healthcare and jobs—by identifying and promoting rational methods of incentivizing better outcomes. We are fiercely bipartisan and relentlessly results-oriented. We bring together a variety of experienced practitioners, including creative business minds, nonprofit leaders, and visionaries in government of all political stripes to collaborate in the pursuit of policy innovation. We then use our findings as a megaphone to influence and inform policy, and help to implement and spread the ideas that are working on the ground. www.hopestreetgroup.org


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