About 4 million printed testing materials were delivered Monday to Tennessee’s 1,800 public schools as they prepare for standardized testing for grades 3-11 beginning next week, a state spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Questar, the state’s new test maker for its 2-year-old TNReady assessment, delivered the materials a week before the three-week testing window opens, said Sara Gast of the State Department of Education
That’s in stark contrast to last year when the failure of TNReady’s online testing debut and subsequent printing delays led the department to to fire North Carolina-based Measurement Inc.
Gast said the last 2,000 of more than 49,000 boxes of printed testing materials were expected to be delivered directly to schools by mid-week.
“Most of those that were not delivered (Monday) were because someone was not there to sign for the delivery or some other sort of missed connection,” she said. “We expect the vast majority of remaining materials to be delivered today, and … everything should be delivered by tomorrow.”
Only 25 out of 130 eligible districts have signed up to try online testing again for their high school students. (Read the list here.) All districts will make the online switch by 2019 for their middle and high school students.
TNReady is designed to be a more rigorous test that emphasizes critical thinking skills, and this will be the last year that the assessment will be aligned to the Common Core academic standards. In the fall, the state will switch to revised standards that state officials tout as homegrown and equally rigorous.
Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said her department has been in “constant communication” with Minneapolis-based Questar to make sure everything goes smoothly.
“They are available and ready when we are in the test window to troubleshoot literally within miles of a school by the way they’re going to deploy people within the state,” McQueen said while visiting a Germantown elementary school near Memphis.
She encouraged teachers and students to enter TNReady testing with confidence, but also warned that scores likely will go down.
“This is aligned to deeper standards…,” McQueen said. “So because this is a new base line, we’ll see overall proficiency drop. But I would say overall that means we’re going to be able to grow and keep getting better.”
While students in grades 3-8 didn’t get to take last year’s TNReady, high school students did and nearly three-quarters of them performed below grade level.
The testing window closes on May 5.