#MNPSVoices- Jan Lineberger, Assessment and Evaluation Coordinator
Jan Lineberger always wanted to be an English teacher, but found her way into the data and testing world instead discovering what turned out to be a perfect mix of interests.
“There is always a narrative in the data,” Lineberger said noting her love of books, specifically 19th century British fiction, as a complement to her career choice. “I work to uncover that story and help teachers and schools move the narrative along.”
A native of a small community in Lincoln County, Tennessee, Lineberger moved to Nashville with her husband for his music career as a drummer. At that time, she started a part-time job in the State Assessment office while she intended to look for a job as a teacher. However, her part-time turned into full-time, and she stayed at the state department for 22 years conducting statewide training and score interpretation and then test development. It was 11 years ago that her friend, and now her boss, Dr. Paul Changas, director of Research and Evaluation, convinced her to join Metro Schools.
“I like my role at Metro Schools because I am able to connect more with the people in the schools and see the direct impact on the students,” Lineberger said. “It is a family.”
She is especially appreciative of the school test coordinators she calls resourceful and resilient co-workers who always want to do the right thing. In her office, Lineberger is the only English major but it benefits her job. She is able to be a translator by taking numbers and data points that help teachers and test coordinators understand what it means for their individual students. Lineberger’ s cross-functional knowledge bridges the gap between numbers, parents and teachers and gives those numbers meaning.
“What I love is when I see a teacher look at the data and look at the numbers and the numbers become that student,” Lineberger said. “Each number is an individual student with unique needs we want to let that number show what that child can do, it should not be looked at one-dimensionally.”
As students prepare to take their year-end tests, Lineberger encourages parents to tell their child to relax and do their best.
“If your student sees something they don’t know, that is okay. Encourage your child to just show what they know and to remember this is not a sole judgment of them,” Lineberger said. “Everything about your child is not wrapped up in this one assessment.”