Department of Education scraps online test after crashes
Sheila Burke, Associated Press | 2/9/2016, 11:18 a.m.
NASHVILLE — Tennessee education officials say they no longer have faith that a brand new education assessment test known as TNReady can be administered online after a series of computer glitches, including one Monday that forced school officials across the state to halt testing on the first day of its rollout.
State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen sent an email Monday afternoon to school directors across the state saying she is no longer confident in vendor Measurement Inc.'s ability to administer the test online consistently without it crashing. As a result, McQueen has ordered that students take the tests using pencil and paper.
Measurement Inc. is the North Carolina-based company that developed TNReady. Records show that the state awarded the company with a contract worth more than $107 million for work from 2015-2020. Company officials did not return a phone call seeking comment.
McQueen, in her email, said technical problems have occurred before Monday. But after the disastrous first-day rollout with computer-networking glitches, the education commissioner said she didn't expect the network to perform well consistently. A number of schools systems across the state had problems taking the test earlier in the day; however, it's not clear how many were affected.
"In the best interest of our students and to protect instructional time, we cannot continue with Measurement Incorporated's online testing platform in its current state," McQueen wrote.
This is the first year students were supposed to take an assessment test online.
TNReady assesses math and English skills for grades 3-11. It replaces the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, known as TCAP tests. Supporters say it does a better job of assessing critical-thinking skills than the previous test.