After More Computer Problems, Some Tennessee Legislators Are Ready To Go Back To Paper Tests | Nashville Public Radio

After More Computer Problems, Some Tennessee Legislators Are Ready To Go Back To Paper Tests

Apr 17, 2018

Another round of problems with the state's standardized tests has Tennessee lawmakers considering ditching computers and going back to pencils and paper.

The proposal is one of several on the table as leaders grapple with an apparent cyberattack on the TNReady testing system.

Officials say the system worked as it was supposed to. When testing vendor Questar detected hackers, it shut down submissions. That kept vulnerable student data from being intercepted.

Still, educators were upset and they let state lawmakers know it. Texts poured in while the legislature was in session, prompting some, like Sumner County Republican William Lamberth, to declare the time has come to pull the plug on testing by computers.

"We've gone through two different vendors, we've tried for four years, to do computerized testing, and it has failed our children."

Lamberth says pencils and paper are proven to work. He says the state should stick with them until it works out the kinks with TNReady.

Another proposal is to throw out this year's test results when evaluating teachers, schools and districts. That's been part of the response when exams failed in years past.

Both ideas will be debated as amendments to House Bill 1109, an unrelated measure.

But Democrats are calling for more severe consequences: They say Education Commissioner Candice McQueen should resign.

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