Tennessee was optimistic that this year would be different when students began taking the state’s standardized test known as TNReady.
But it quickly became apparent that TNReady was not ready again, especially the online version that has sputtered forward in fits and starts since testing began on April 16.
The reasons for another messy TNReady season are numerous — but different from issues that ruined the online test’s 2016 debut or undermined 2017 results due to scoring errors and ill-timed score deliveries.
Here’s a quick list highlighting this year’s problems to date, the reported causes, and major actions taken as a result:
Monday, April 16: On the first day of testing, thousands of students cannot advance past TNReady’s login page due to a login system shared by two state testing programs.
Tuesday, April 17: Testing is suspended statewide after a reported cyber attack prompts testing company Questar to shut down the online system. State officials say no student data or information was compromised. Investigations are underway by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the State Office of Homeland Security, in addition to an external probe ordered by Questar in conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Education.
Wednesday, April 18: Isolated reports of technical issues. Education Commissioner Candice McQueen testifies before state lawmakers about the TNReady challenges and rebuffs calls for her resignation.
Thursday, April 19: Technical problems occur statewide, prompting Tennessee’s legislature that day to pass emergency legislation aimed at reducing the impact of this year’s TNReady scores on accountability systems for students, teachers, schools, and districts.
Friday, April 20: No significant issues reported
Monday, April 23: No significant issues reported
Tuesday, April 24: No significant issues reported
Wednesday, April 25: An overnight software upgrade by Questar impacts online rosters for high schoolers, hampering logins. On its final day of their legislative session, Tennessee lawmakers approve additional legislation directing that “no adverse action may be taken” against any student, teacher, school, or district based on TNReady results this school year.
Thursday, April 26: Poor internet connectivity slows testing after a dump truck severs a fiber optic cable northeast of Knoxville, requiring that internet traffic be rerouted.
Friday, April 27: State officials confirm invalidating 1,400 tests after a system design error caused students in 39 districts to take the wrong grade-level test.
Monday, April 30: Students struggle to log in, stay on, and submit their exams statewide. A state spokeswoman blames the “intermittent slowdowns” on an online feature that allows text to be turned into speech for students needing audible commands.
Tuesday, May 1: No significant issues reported
Due to the frequent interruptions to TNReady, the state has extended the online testing window to May 9.
For more on how Tennessee got here, check out why state lawmakers share blame, too, for TNReady testing headaches, as well as our TNReady timeline below:
Chalkbeat reporter Laura Faith Kebede contributed to this report.