Tennessee’s governor Bill Haslam and education commissioner Kevin Huffman praised teachers for their hard work  in boosting the National Assessment of Educational Progress test scores.

As we reported this morning,  Tennessee students made some of the largest gains in the country in this year’s NAEP, the so-called “nation’s report card.”

Both the District of Columbia and Tennessee schools have been home to dramatic reforms in teacher compensation and evaluation in recent years, and were among the early adopters of policies that tie teacher pay and evaluations to student test scores.

In a ceremony at West Wilson Middle School in Mt. Juliet, Haslam said he set a goal in 2011 to be the fastest improving state by 2015.

“We literally blew away other states,” Haslam said. “Given the last 10 years, no state ever has shown the gains Tennessee made this year.”

Education commissioner Huffman, who has received votes of no confidence from thousands of teachers across the state, said, “We want to pay the teachers the way they deserve.  It’s difficult for teachers.  Please know how grateful. We don’t take that lightly at all.”

Gov. Haslam and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will be holding a media call at 2:30 p.m. today.  

Check back for continuing coverage of this year’s NAEP data.