Tennessee Education Leaders Defend Troubled TNReady Testing To Skeptical Lawmakers

Feb 23, 2017

Tennessee education leaders are trying to convince legislators to stand by the new TNReady standardized test, which went through a disastrous rollout last year. Some lawmakers have proposed giving districts the option go with a national test instead.

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen is quick to admit TNReady's first year was a failure. There were computer glitches that required moving to a paper-based test, and even that didn't work because of printing problems.

But she's still trying to head off an attempt to abandon TNReady, which is written by Tennessee educators. She told the education committees she does not like some of the legislation being considered, which would allow districts to take other tests by companies that make the college entrance exams.

"We believe having at least two more years of data with additional study would allow us to come to you with something that would be a better option than saying it's all or nothing," McQueen said. "Because all or nothing is actually not appropriate in this particular situation."

McQueen argues that the suite of tests from ACT and SAT don't get into the specific knowledge students are supposed to pick up in each grade according to state standards. And that was the reason Tennessee opted to create its own test in the first place. The state has also invested heavily in TNReady, signing a two-year $30 million contract last year.