Gov. Haslam discusses TN Ready challenges, seeking new test vendor
It's been three years since TN Ready launched, and now Governor Bill Haslam is looking for a replacement. He plans to discuss state testing with community members and get feedback on how to improve during a listening tour he announced on Tuesday.
Channel 3 has reported on seven instances in which the state-wide testing system has failed. Haslam admits dealing with TN Ready has been challenging from dealing with statewide glitches to delayed results, grading malfunctions and printing fails.
“Nobody likes what happened last year and rather than point fingers let’s say let’s go fix it. Obviously that first time to get it right is a tough hurdle and we haven’t climbed that hurdle well and I’ll take the blame for that," Haslam said. "The issue we had with our prior two vendors was just could they handle the scope and size of that many kids coming online at one time and the system not crash.”
That's exactly what happened back in April. About 25,000 students statewide were unable to login to the testing site.
State officials said a glitch from their vendor, Questar Assessment, was to blame. It prompted Channel 3 to ask if the state is considering going back to paper tests.
“To say that we’re just going to all go back to paper when the world is going the other way I don’t think is the right answer,” Haslam said.
Haslam said the search for a new vendor will begin soon with RFP’s going out this fall.
"We need a vendor who can provide the implementation [and] deliver it in a way that we can show all the work that the teachers put into [and] show what [students have] learned,“ Haslam explained. "The tricky part is we’re in the middle of a transition. There will be a new governor next year you know they’ll have their new team in place and we want to make certain we set them up for success before we walk out the door.”
Haslam said the goal is to have a new vendor for the 2019-2020 school year. In the meantime, the governor says Questar will supply state testing again this school year.
“They have assured us and we are working hand-in-hand with them and bringing outside people to make certain that the test is ready."