Search begins for new TNReady vendor
After years of testing troubles, the search is on for a new vendor, or vendors, for TNReady testing.
"We're going to put out a new RFP in the fall which will lead us to a vendor in the '19-'20 school year and going forward that will have technical expertise to do the work that we're asking in the online environment," Education Commissioner Candice McQueen explained.
Over the last few years, there have been several issues involving cyber attacks, overloaded online servers and test result delays.
The current testing administrator is Questar Assessment. However, the state is looking for new vendors that can improve the testing process.
"So this a competitive process for a new vendor, potentially multiple vendors, to actually take on the complex work of building our assessment in Tennessee," McQueen urged.
Several factors will be looked at when searching for vendors, including how many other states the potential vendor is working in, its ability to deliver the test, scoring, reporting and program management.
McQueen said now, compared to 5 years ago, they have a more specific idea of what to look for. They can also look at other states who are successfully implementing online testing.
"Obviously, over lessons learned, it's the program management pieces are very important,” McQueen said. “Is the expertise, on the side of the vendor, at the level needed to do the work that we're requiring in what we believe is a very strong test."
There could be multiple vendors. There may be a vendor that can handle reporting and scoring, and a separate one that focuses on delivery.
The request for proposal for potential vendors will go out in the fall, and officials hope to have a decision made by the end of the spring.
Questar will still be able to apply to continue administering the test.
In the meantime, the state will continue to slowly phase in online testing. It will continue for all high school students this coming year. Students in 5th - 8th-grade will only take the science test online, while the rest of the testing will be done on paper.