After weeks of delays, printed materials for Tennessee’s new TNReady standardized test have been delivered to all 142 school districts, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Education said Monday.
The last batch was delivered Monday morning to Rutherford County Schools, where school leaders were prepared to begin administering tests between Tuesday and Thursday of this week, depending on when the materials arrived. As of last Friday, only 22 of the Middle Tennessee district’s 45 schools had received the tests.
This is the last week of the state’s testing window for Part I of TNReady, Tennessee’s new assessment aligned with its current Common Core standards. Because of the delayed shipping, the Department of Education will afford some districts flexibility to finish testing next week, said spokeswoman Ashley Ball.
For districts that have spring break right around the corner, that leaves only four weeks of instructional time between the completion of Part I testing and the beginning of Part II’s testing window, scheduled for April 25 to May 10.
Almost 2 million Part I tests have been printed and shipped since the failed rollout of the online version of TNReady on Feb. 8. The test vendor, North Carolina-based Measurement Inc., printed materials from eight centers across the Southeast to deliver them in time for the Part I testing window.
Initially, paper-based tests had been printed for only a handful of districts expected to have isolated online glitches. But when Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen and her leadership team scrapped the online version a few hours after the platform experienced a severe network outage, printer capacity issues challenged Measurement Inc. to deliver paper-based testing materials statewide in a timely manner.
For many districts, especially for the state’s largest school systems, scheduled shipment arrival dates came and went multiple times, further complicating testing and instruction schedules in many Tennessee classrooms.
Frustration and concern about the TNReady rollout prompted Gov. Bill Haslam to propose a bill that would give teachers the option to exclude TNReady scores from teacher evaluations this year. The legislature is expected to approve Haslam’s proposal. (Read our explainer about the three teacher evaluation options laid out in Haslam’s plan.)
Ball estimates that less than two dozen districts are still testing on the final week of the Part I testing window.
That includes Shelby County Schools, Tennessee’s largest school district, which began testing on Monday, even though less than half of its schools had not received materials as of last Friday, said district spokeswoman Kristin Tallent.