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By Hartsville Vidette Staff Reporter

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced last week several new steps to improve the state’s TNReady student assessment, including recompeting the state’s current testing vendor contract.

These improvements are being made after ongoing conversations with teachers, parents, education leaders, and policy-makers over the past several weeks and are aimed at addressing a number of areas of concern.

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The multi-faceted changes announced today will immediately improve the state assessment — TNReady — and establish a longer-term framework for success. The steps being taken to improve TNReady include:

  • Releasing a new Request for Proposals (RFP) to identify the assessment vendor or vendors that can successfully administer the state test in 2019-20 and beyond;
  • Amending the state’s current contract and relationship with Questar to improve the assessment experience in 2018-19; and
  • Adjusting the pace of the state’s transition to online testing

For the 2018-19 school year:

  • Students in grades 3-8 will take TNReady on paper for math, English, and social studies.
  • Students in grades 3-4 will take their TNReady science test on paper, and students in grades 5-8 will take their science test online. Science is a field test in 2018-19 because the state is transitioning to new academic standards; therefore, the results will not count for students, teachers, or schools, nor will any public scores be released. This provides an option for all students to experience the online platform and do so in an environment that is low-risk for them.
  • Students in high school and those taking end-of-course exams will continue to test online.

Tennessee is one of less than 10 states that still has a paper test in middle school.

These steps complement additional actions already in the works, including eliminating two TNReady end-of-course exams, eliminating the March stand-alone field test for the next two years, simplifying and streamlining test administration, bringing in a third party to perform an independent review of Questar’s technological capabilities, improving customer service, and engaging dozens of additional Tennessee teachers, content experts, and testing coordinators to look at every part of our state testing program.

“Teachers, students and families deserve a testing process they can have confidence in, and we are doing everything possible to meet that responsibility,” Commissioner McQueen said. “We are always committed to listening and improving, and we’ll continue to do just that.”