Edu. Commissioner: "We Have To Get Better"

Posted at 9:05 AM, May 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-14 19:55:50-04

Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen met with reporters Monday to address issues associated with TNReady testing. 

At a round-table meeting, Commissioner McQueen told reporters what happened this year is unacceptable. She said the education testing system has to get better, referring to TNReady testing that experienced days of difficulties in multiple counties.

"It is understandable, the frustration level," said Governor Bill Haslam. "We have teachers who have worked really hard to prepare students and students that have worked really hard to prepare."

Haslam and McQueen said even though some students were unable to login to their test and others couldn't submit when they were finished, some 95% of tests were eventually collected. They said all of this data is good, but the legislature's move to hold teachers, students and schools harmless to the negative effects of the test will still stand.

McQueen said the environment from the testing failures is still a factor in this year's tests. So, teachers will have the option whether or not their test scores will be used for the 2017-2018 year.

"We believe we have to get better," said McQueen. "There's no option not to improve and to continue to make sure we have a seamless experience every single day and for every single student who moves into the online or the paper testing."

Haslam and McQueen announced the state will switch test creation from Questar, the current testing company, to Educational Testing Service (ETS). Questar's contract is up in November. So, they will administer the fall tests for students in Tennessee, but ETS could take over that as well.

The state is also bringing in a third party to do a complete review over Questar's testing systems. Also, as early as next week Questar will submit their own analysis of this year's testing and what went wrong.

If teachers decide to negate their test scores, it should not impact any potential bonuses they receive said McQueen. 

A third party investigator is being consulted to see if there was a cyber attack on TNReady on the first day of testing.