Tennessee education chief reports no issues after TNReady practice run
Almost 50,000 Tennessee students across 51 districts participated in a TNReady practice run Tuesday without any issues ahead of the fall testing window.
The students spent about 40 minutes on the platform to ensure it is running smoothly, according to Candice McQueen, Tennessee’s education commissioner, who emailed state directors Tuesday about the practice test.
The need for the practice run comes after several years during which the state has experienced TNReady issues testing students online. High school students on block schedules take the TNReady test in December.
“The success of today’s test — with students interacting with TNReady test questions at an even higher volume than we typically see in the fall — helps to affirm the steps that our testing vendor Questar (Assessment) has taken to improve ahead of the fall block testing window,” McQueen said. “We will conduct another verification test of the platform in the spring to ensure readiness again.”
The practice test was part of the state’s efforts to ensure the platform is working ahead of wide-scale testing.
Last year Questar made unauthorized changes to the TNReady platform, causing widespread issues. The problem was originally reported as a suspected “deliberate attack” on the company’s system.
Some districts opted to cancel testing altogether for multiple days.
It followed after the 2016-17 school year, when Questar incorrectly graded a small number of paper tests. And in the spring 2016 administration window, online testing was canceled altogether.
It led to the state firing Measurement Inc., its vendor at the time, and hiring Questar.
This fall about 30,000 students will be on the platform during any given day, said Sara Gast, Tennessee Education Department spokeswoman.
“For context, about 90 of our 147 school districts have some or all of their schools on a block schedule,” she said. “We will perform another large-scale verification test in the spring to ensure readiness for the April administration window.”
The test also served as a way to get students familiar with the online platform. Only high school students will be required to take the test online this school year.
“All students who participated in the exam will receive a standards-aligned score report within the next week,” McQueen said. “This feedback, which has never been available before, will help teachers further improve their instruction to meet their students’ needs.”[Read more at The Tennessean]