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Unlike last year, TNReady testing starts without hiccups in Tennessee

One hour.

That was all it took last year for Tennessee’s new online testing system to buckle.

But this year, the first day of standardized testing went off on Monday without a hitch, reports the Tennessee Department of Education.

“Day 1 of TNReady was a success — both for students who took the test online and for those who took it on paper,” Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said in a statement.

Nearly 11,000 high school students took the state’s TNReady assessment using an online platform from Questar, the testing company hired by the state to replace Measurement Inc., which it fired after last year’s rocky TNReady rollout. More than 30,000 more students will log onto the new system before this year’s testing window ends on May 5.

Last year, it only took 48,000 students to log on during the first day to clog up the system and lead to the eventual cancellation of TNReady for grades 3-8. The head of Measurement Inc. later said the technical glitch was due to an inadequate number of servers.

This year, the state took a more tempered approach to online testing, giving only high schools that option. Out of 130 districts with high schools, only 25 opted in, while the vast majority of Tennessee’s students will take paper-based tests.

This year, the state had a new TNReady game plan. Read the details — and why some teachers have been anxious.

McQueen attributed this year’s successful start to clear communication with Questar and educators on the ground. She said her department has no reason to believe that won’t continue for the remainder of the testing window.

“For a number of reasons — from the nearly flawless execution of shipping more than 4 million testing materials, to the onsite technical support provided by our vendor, to active engagement of state and district officials, to the success of this first day — we continue to feel confident that our students and schools will have a positive testing experience this spring,” she said.

While the state’s testing window opened on Monday, many districts will start testing later in the week, including Shelby County Schools, which will start on Tuesday.