What A Difference A Year Made For Tennessee's Standardized Testing

Apr 17, 2017

State education officials are dubbing the first day of standardized testing in Tennessee schools "nearly flawless."

Without a doubt, day one went more smoothly than last year. In 2016, computer glitches were followed by printing problems for the paper backups. TNReady's launch got off to such a rough start that testing was basically scrapped for the year.

The state isn't reporting any serious computer problems, though just a fraction of the students are taking tests online this year. It was only an option for high schoolers, and just 25 districts took the chance to try it again.

But in all, nearly 11,000 students successfully completed online tests with the new platform on day one, which represents almost a third of those who are supposed to before the testing window closes May 5.

"We did not experience any of the challenges we saw last year," Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said in a statement. "We continue to feel confident that our students and schools will have a positive testing experience this spring."

Elementary and middle school grades are all using paper tests. And those materials — four million in all — were successfully delivered last week.

State officials are praising the new vendor, Questar, which offered onsite technical support. After last year's testing problems, that vendor — Measurement Inc. — was fired.