A war of words has erupted between lawmakers, the state Department of Education and Measurement Inc., vendor of the TN Ready tests.
The exam was supposed to be given online in February. However, the state said the program failed and they switched to paper test instead. That led to a delay a few weeks later.
Thursday, the Department of Education announced yet another delay in the delivery of paper tests for middle and elementary schools.
"We share our districts' frustration that we do not know specific delivery timelines due to [Measurement Inc's] failure to provide shipping projections and find this lack of information extremely unsatisfactory," spokesperson Ashley Ball said in a statement.
But the vendor is fighting back.
"You just can't take the test off line and put it on a printing press," President Henry Sherich said by phone Friday. "We're not failing to deliver. We are delivering as fast as possible."
Right now, several districts across Middle Tennessee are having to delay testing. Wilson and Sumner Counties were supposed to start testing Monday. They have since pushed back testing for elementary and middle schools until May 2nd.
Ball said all districts should receive testing materials by April 27. The Department of Education said they will not reschedule the exams again. May 10 will be the absolute last day for testing.
Sherich said the final materials for Tennessee schools are supposed to be delivered to his company on Saturday and then they will send them to the state.
More delays appear to be possible.
"I wouldn't bet your house on it, but we are close to having everything now," Sherich said.
Sherich goes on to say they've had to print out more than 1 million testing booklets and answer documents.
For the last few weeks, the company is using only one printer to prepare the remaining tests. Other printers, he claimed, were already booked and couldn't take on any additional projects.
"We've had the one printer who's kept doing it, and they've been running their shop nearly 24 hours a day," said Sherich.
The vendor would not answer who is to blame for the continued to delays. When asked if the state should have gone to paper tests, Sherich declined to provide specifics.
"There will be a discussion about whether the decision to go to paper was a wise decision or not but it's not a discussion that i want to have now," he added.