testing

Outside groups review TNReady troubles; Haslam says it’s still ‘a good test’

Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen say the state has hired two outside groups to review the troubled TNReady school testing system and will shift some responsibilities to a new testing company while deciding whether to extend Minnesota-based Questar’s contract to give the test next year, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee.

At a joint news conference Monday, they also pledged to abide by laws approved in this year’s legislative session to assure students and teachers suffer no adverse effects from the tests. McQueen outlined her department’s response to dealing with the legislation.

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’11th hour’ TNReady legislation may have violated federal law

Legislation approved in the waning hours of the General Assembly’s 2018 session –”while the sky seemed to be falling down around Tennessee’s computerized test” – may have violated federal law, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee.

The 11th-hour bills were a response to public outcry over TNReady, the state’s problem-plagued standardized assessment, including concerns that daily interruptions to the online version had made the results unreliable. The intent of the legislation was clear: “No adverse action may be taken” against any student, teacher, school, or district based on this year’s results.

Now, staff members with the state Department of Education are in daily talks with federal education officials over whether the legislation has put Tennessee out of compliance with the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal law that is also tied to funding. They expect to have an answer by next week.

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110th General Assembly adjourns after a round of House-Senate hostility, more TNReady turmoil

The Tennessee General Assembly’s traditional end-of-session jockeying over last-minute bills boiled over into dramatic brinkmanship Wednesday with a focus on the latest TNReady student testing fiasco, reports the Times Free Press. The 110th General Assembly was finally adjourned late Wednesday night, about 10 days later that legislative leaders had optimistically predicted at the January outset.

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Harwell seeks comptroller review of TNReady contract vendor Questar

Press release from House Republican Caucus

(NASHVILLE) — Under the direction of House Speaker Beth Harwell (R–Nashville), State Representative Jeremy Faison (R–Cosby) has officially requested a review by the Tennessee Comptroller related to recent testing issues of the TNReady school assessments.

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Angry legislators ditch 2018 TNReady test scores in swift, bipartisan votes

Moving swiftly Thursday amid reports of more problems with TNReady testing across the state, both the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved sweeping legislation to block use of this year’s test scores from accountability systems for students, teachers, schools, and districts, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee.

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TBI asked to investigate whether TNReady was hacked

State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen asked Wednesday that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the state Office of Homeland Security investigate whether the computer system used in TNReady testing statewide was hacked this week. The commissioner told legislators she was “devastated” by the latest round of troubles for the system but will not heed Democrats’ call for her to resign.

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More TNReady testing turmoil — in classrooms and at the legislature

Testing of high school students under the state’s TNReady program was suspended in many school districts Tuesday after troubles that officials say may have been a “deliberate attack” via computers.

Reaction in the legislature: Democrats called for the resignation of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen because of repeated TNReady trouble. And the full House slapped amendments onto pending legislation that would require the tests to be administered on paper rather than on computers and limit the use of TNReady scores in teacher and student assessments.

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State drops two now-required tests for high school students

Tennessee will drop two end-of-course exams for high schoolers next school year in its most significant reduction of state testing in recent years, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee.

The state’s testing task force voted Monday to eliminate standardized tests for chemistry and English III — essentially cutting by more than half the amount of state-ordered testing for students in their junior year of high school.

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UT to accept ACT test scores despite administrative foul-up

Press release from Lt. Gov. Randy McNally

Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) today announced the University of Tennessee has agreed to accept scores from the October 17 mis-administered ACT tests at Bearden High School and Alvin C. York Institute in Jamestown. The University’s decision was delivered to Lt. Governor McNally by University of Tennessee Interim Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor John Zomchick.  Continue reading

Lawsuit contends state owes fired TNReady contractor $25.3M

The company fired last year by the state Department of Education after major problems came up in trying to implement a then-new student testing system has filed a legal claim contending the state wrongfully broke the contract. State officials won’t comment on the matter, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee, but the company’s president will.

Henry Scherich says Tennessee owes Measurement Inc. $25.3 million for services associated with TNReady, the state’s new standardized test for its public schools. That’s nearly a quarter of the company’s five-year, $108 million contract with the state, which Tennessee officials canceled after technical problems roiled the test’s 2016 rollout.

So far, the state has paid the Durham, North Carolina-based company about $545,000 for its services, representing about 2 percent of the total bill, according to a claim recently obtained by Chalkbeat.

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