The Tennessee Department of Education says the TNReady testing failures across the state this spring were caused by software problems and not a deliberate attack by hackers or cut cables.
State officials say they plan to lower the amount paid to vendor Questar by $2.5 million, “to account for the substandard performance issues we experienced under the current contract and the costs incurred by the state in addressing the issues this spring.”
Questar claims it has identified and resolved the testing issue.
Questar’s contract as the primary vendor has been extended through the 2018-19 academic school year; however the test design and development portion of TNReady will be transferred to the Educational Testing Service. Education officials said this will allow Questar to focus solely on administering and scoring tests.
The state DOE said it’s proposing amendments to Questar in order to improve the tests. Some of those suggestions include a multi-state stress test, a third-party review of the testing process, providing crisis-level monitoring throughout the testing window and improving its customer service.
Although Tennessee is one of just 10 states that still have paper tests, education officials plan to scale back plans to move more testing online next year. They said the only online testing in 2018-19 will be science tests for grades 5-8 and high-school assessment tests.
The investigation into what caused issues with TNReady online testing in the 2017-18 academic school year is ongoing.
Over 2.5 million test sessions were competed online over the 18-day test administration window. This was the largest year ever for testing.