Following two years of difficulty with the stability of TNReady online testing platforms, nearly 50,000 students across 51 school districts participated on Tuesday in a 40-minute verification test.
“We saw what we expected to see: a high volume of students are able to be on the testing platform simultaneously, and they are able to log on and submit practice tests in an overlapping way across Tennessee’s two time zones,” Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said in an email to the state’s superintendents.
According to Sara Gast, Education Department spokeswoman, the success of the Tuesday morning test – with students interacting with TNReady test questions at a higher volume than is typical in the fall – helps to affirm the steps that testing vendor Questar has taken to improve ahead of the fall block testing window.
Gast said another verification test of the platform will be conducted in the spring to ensure readiness again for the April tests.
“Participation in today’s verification test also provided an opportunity for students to get experience with the online platform and TNReady test content,” McQueen wrote. “Within the next week, the districts that participated will receive a score report for all students that took a practice test to provide some information about students’ performance that can help inform their teachers’ instruction. These score reports will also provide details about the specific standards that were captured in the practice test questions.
“We are very pleased with today’s outcome, and we will continue to update you throughout the coming weeks.”
In 2016 another vendor’s online testing platform failed. The explanation at the time was that it could not support the number of users logging on at the same time. The state administered the tests on paper in 2017. A new vendor, Questar, rolled out its online TNReady this past spring. Students had problems again with the testing platform this past spring. Those difficulties were blamed on an apparent cyber attack.