Tennessee will be the first state able to track student's academic progress
from grades 2-12, a task to be done under a University of Tennessee
reorganization announced on Tuesday.

UT Senior Vice President Homer Fisher said the reorganization will
coordinate the activities of two UT centers which test students and
evaluate their progress.

Fisher announced:

*Fretta Bunch will head the State Testing and Evaluation Center.
She formerly was associate director of the center's office at
UT-Knoxville.

*Bill Sanders, UT-Knoxville statistician whose method of
analyzing student test data will be used in state schools, will head the
new Center for Value-Added Research and Assessment.

Bunch and Sanders will report to Fisher.

The Center for Value-Added Research and Assessment will house three million
records accumulated the past five years on the state's 1,339 schools and
students in grades 2-8, as well as future data, Sanders said.

Sanders' method of measuring students' yearly academic gains is part of
Gov. Ned McWherter's Educational Improvement Act. Eventually, Sanders will
be able to track the academic progress of all the state's students from
elementary through high school.

It will be one of the "largest computer tasks ever undertaken," Sanders
said. "We're blazing new trails."

Bunch will oversee the development of the Tennessee Comprehensive
Assessment Program (TCAP) Achievement Test, used in the Sanders model.

She also will oversee the statewide administration of the tests, processing
of the data, reporting the results to the school systems and the
interpretation of the score report information.

The 1994-95 school year will mark the sixth year the test has been
administered statewide.

While Sanders will not be involved in the development of the tests, he and
the center staff will analyze the results in new ways to identify factors
that impede or aid academic progress.

"The center's goal will be to supply information to the education community
based on solid data gained from a quantitative, rigorous, scientific
approach," he said.

"These appointments and organizational changes are a logical step to take
in our continuing work with the state Department of Education," Fisher
said,

"They respond to opportunities identified in discussions with (Education)
Commissioner (Wayne) Qualls and his staff. We are pleased to continue the
linkage with the department in assessment activities and to provide a
central University of Tennessee home for these two activities."