Earlier today, I announced that the department is terminating its statewide assessment contract with Measurement Inc., effective immediately. The state awarded Measurement, Inc. a contract in November 2014 to provide an online testing platform with a paper and pencil backup. Not only did Measurement, Inc. fail to deliver a reliable online platform for students across the state, it has also failed to print and ship paper tests by deadlines the company has set. Terminating our contract with Measurement, Inc. was a challenging decision because we’ve been working to honor the effort and investment of Tennessee teachers and students, but we’ve exhausted every option in problem solving with this vendor to get these tests delivered. TNReady was designed to provide Tennessee students, teachers, and families with better information about what students know and understand, and the failure of this vendor has let down the educators and students of our state.
As a result of repeated failures from this vendor, we are suspending Part II of TNReady for grades 3-8 this year. However, because districts have already received all high school testing materials, high school testing will move forward as planned.
While Measurement Inc. had previously assured us it would have all grade 3-8 materials delivered by April 27, the third deadline the company has set and missed this month, 100 percent of districts are still waiting on some 3-8 materials to arrive, and few districts have complete sets of tests for any grade or subject. Last week, the department told districts that we would not ask them to continue to change schedules and extend the testing window beyond May 10. We know the transition to TNReady has presented unexpected challenges for educators, schools, and districts, and we will not ask them to further disrupt their end of year schedule.
The results from a more rigorous assessment were intended to provide us with better information about our students’ progress on the path to college and career readiness. I understand that many of you will share in my disappointment that we won’t have detailed performance reports from this year’s assessment for students in grades 3-8. We will provide as much information as possible related to results from Part I testing for grades 3-8. This will be used for informational purposes only, and no score will be associated with Part I for grades 3-8. High school tests will be scored, and these results will be shared in the fall. I am sorry that we were unable to provide all students with a consistent and complete testing experience this year.
While the transition to a new assessment has been challenging, aligned assessments are critical to ensure that all students are making progress on their path to postsecondary opportunities and the workforce. Tennessee’s teachers and students have risen to higher expectations, and I hope you are encouraged by the growth in critical thinking and problem solving that you have seen in your child’s work.
The department is currently working with the state’s Central Procurement Office to expedite the selection of a vendor for both the scoring of this year’s high school assessment and the administration of next year’s test. We look forward to sharing more information with you soon, as we work to select a new testing vendor and continuously improve our assessments.
Thank you for your partnership and support of the work in our schools.