UPDATE: Hamilton County principals and school officials say the first day of TNReady testing "went well."

This includes dealing with more than 200 students at one local school choosing not to complete the state test.

"I'm glad that one of the nine days is done! Things went well and I really am feeling confident that next year testing will be much better run and much better set up in the state of Tennessee," said Normal Park Principal Jill Levine.

Since the count's policy technically doesn't allow students to opt out, all students were given the test on Monday, but hundreds of students at Normal Park chose Schools chose not to complete it.

"We handed them the test, they handed it back to us and said no thank you, or I refuse in order to honor the wishes of my parents," Levine said.

The state requires 95 percent of students to take tests. If not, it could hurt the district's ratings.

"They said that the students who opted out it would not negatively impact that 95 percent number," Levine said.

Students who go to class and choose not to complete the test will not count against the school's overall participation rate. Only students who are absent count against the school and the district.

"The students who didn't take the test today were given an alternative assignment once they refused the test so they had something else to work on," Levine said.

Because of the failed first attempt at conducting this year's testing, this year's scores will not count against student grades or teacher evaluations.
Levine says she's already been promised by the state changes and improvements to next year's testing schedule. She hopes that means fewer testing days state-wide.

"Sometime the right thing to do is the difficult thing to do, and I think in this sense the parents did the right thing in order to make education better for everyone across the state," Levine.

The Director of Testing and Accountability says he won't know the exact number of how many students opted out until next week.
Testing on Monday lasted for about 75 minutes and phase two of the TNReady testing begins in April.


UPDATE: With the TNReady tests set to officially begin Monday in Hamilton County, Channel 3 has learned that hundreds of local students plan to opt out of the test.

Normal Park Principal Jill Levine said nearly 41% of her school (223 students) opted out, choosing not to take the test come Monday.

"I think parents are doing that for a couple of reasons: one, they've been really patient with the state. But three times now, TNReady has not been ready on time for our kids and parents are frustrated with the schedule changes."

Part one of the testing will begin Monday and last four days. Part two will last five days and will likely take place in late April or Early May. The test results won't come back until the fall, according to Dr. Kirk Kelly, the district's director of testing.

Kelly did not have final numbers on how many students county-wide plan to opt out of the TN Ready tests.

The tests arrived in Hamilton County Thursday. Levine said she has close to 20 people working Friday on labeling and sorting almost 6,000 pieces of paper associated with the tests in preparation for Monday.