Testing results won’t be in for months, but Education Commissioner Candice McQueen is giving this year’s TNReady run an A-plus.
TNReady’s second year — and first full year for grades 3-8 — was a success on both paper and online, McQueen told education stakeholders in an email on Monday.
Now, Tennessee is marching ahead with its plan to test all high school students online next year and to give districts that option for middle schoolers as well.
“With such a successful online administration, we are confident in our plan to move forward …,” McQueen said of the more than 30,000 high school students who tested online this spring in 24 districts.
The non-eventful testing period, which ended on May 5, was a victory for the State Department of Education and its new testing company, Questar. A year ago after Tennessee’s online platform failed and a string of problems ensued, McQueen canceled testing in grades 3-8 and fired its previous test maker, Measurement Inc.
McQueen said this year’s online testing had “few, if any, issues,” meaning that Tennessee can finally transition to testing on computers and tablets. The digital shift is scheduled to be complete by the 2019-20 school year.
Overall, more than 600,000 students in grades 3-11 took Tennessee’s new suite of assessments, which is supposed to be more rigorous and more accurately represent student learning than previous state tests.
Next up is scoring. Minnesota-based Questar is receiving and scoring exams, and the Department of Education will send raw results to districts in late May for the purposes of determining students’ final grades. TNReady scores will count this year for 10 percent, and the weight will rise as students and teachers become more familiar with the new test.
Final high school end-of-course results will come out this summer, while students in grades 3-8 will have to wait until the fall. Because last year’s test was canceled for the younger grades, those tests have to go through an extended score-setting process as a team of educators determines what answers qualify as grade-level.
In future years, results for all students will be released in the summer.