At least a dozen school districts still not TNReady as more testing shipments delayed

Update: As of Friday, some of Shelby County Schools had still not received TNReady testing materials. Forty-nine schools will begin testing Monday. District officials said in an e-mail that they are working with the State Department of Education to figure out plans for the remaining schools. 

With the final week of Tennessee’s rescheduled testing window looming, at least a dozen school districts are still waiting for their printed state testing materials to arrive, and some have delayed their exams again.

With the final week of Tennessee’s rescheduled testing window looming, at least a dozen school districts are still waiting for their printed state testing materials to arrive, and some have delayed their exams again.

“Printing capacity issues” continue to plague the already snake-bit TNReady assessment, which was first delayed on Feb. 8 when the test’s online launch failed, prompting state officials to instruct districts to revert to paper-based tests.

As of this week, shipments for five districts were scheduled to leave Sunday, three were to go out on Monday, and nine more are to be dispatched by Thursday, according to Ashley Ball, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Education.

State officials said last week that all districts would receive their testing materials by this Tuesday. However, printing and distributing such a large volume of tests in one month has proved challenging.

Next week is the final week of the rescheduled testing window that began on Feb. 22 and is to end March. 18.

Most students in Tennessee’s 142 districts already have completed TNReady, the state’s new assessment aligned with its current Common Core academic standards. But for those still waiting for paper-based tests, the additional delays are compounding frustrations that began on Feb. 8 when state officials scrapped the online launch for which districts had been preparing for years.

In Chattanooga, officials with Hamilton County Schools were told the materials would arrive last week so they could start testing this Wednesday. But since those materials now aren’t scheduled to ship until Thursday, the district will delay testing until next week — five weeks behind the original date, according to testing coordinator Cheryl Ladd.

Maury County Schools spokeswoman Kim Dodderidge said her district, which had planned to start testing on Tuesday, also is rolling with the punches.

“(Testing dates) have shifted, but the state has been responsive and communicative with us,” she said about testing materials, now scheduled to ship on Thursday.

In Memphis, officials with both Shelby County Schools and the state-run Achievement School District are waiting to see when the materials arrive.

Testing for Shelby County high school students is to begin Thursday and grades 3-8 on Friday, but district leaders are prepared to make adjustments, said Bradley Leon, chief of strategy and innovation.

“We are concerned about the testing timeline, but we are in constant communication with the state to provide our schools with the latest updates,” Leon said Monday.

The pivot from online testing has had significant repercussions statewide.

Testing company Measurement Inc. has had the gargantuan task of printing and shipping about 1 million tests for all of the state’s districts, when it had expected only to produce paper tests for a handful of school systems that might experience technical glitches.

In classrooms, teachers and students have had to shift lesson plans and schedules while waiting for testing materials to be printed and distributed.

In response to frustration by educators, Gov. Bill Haslam has proposed giving teachers the option to waive student scores from their teacher evaluations this school year. (Read our explainer on the likely options.)

Here’s the list of districts that had not received tests at the start of the school week:

Materials were shipped on Sunday to:

Wilson County


Murfreesboro City

Shelby County high schools

Sevier County

Materials were shipped on Monday to:

Williamson County

Achievement School District

Shelby County grades 3-8

Materials are scheduled to be shipped on Thursday to:

Hamilton County

Tipton County

Madison County

Sullivan County

Putnam County

Maury County

Sumner County

Rutherford County

Montgomery County

Reporters Laura Kebede and Micaela Watts contributed to this report.