Education Commissioner explains TNReady failure

Education Commissioner explains TNReady failure

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Since the TNReady online testing system failed Monday, parents, teachers and students have been searching for answers.

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen was in Memphis on Wednesday to deal with some of the tough questions about why the test failed and what steps will be taken in the future.

"Well first, I'm sorry. We are all sorry," McQueen said. "We're sorry that we could not deliver on an online platform this year for TNReady."

McQueen said that does not mean they will not have the online test in the future.

"We had our first, what I would call 'large-scale development test' on October 1," McQueen said. "At that point, we learned that there were some capacity issues."

She said they tried to address those problems by adding more servers. Among the other problems were issues taking the test on iPads, so they told schools planning to use iPads to instead test on paper.

The crash on Monday, however, was not one of the problems they anticipated.

McQueen said the state has only paid their vendor, Measurement Incorporated, less than $2 million so far for helping develop the test. The contract with Measurement Incorporated is worth more than $100 million.

After the failure of the online platform, it is unclear whether the state will stick with the huge contract.

"That remains to be seen," McQueen said. "We're continuing to review where we are and what we need to do going forward."

Despite teacher unions asking for this year's tests not to count for teacher evaluations, McQueen hinted that the tests would still count, but allow for some leeway.

Overall, McQueen said students are used to taking standardized tests on paper, so she is not worried how they will handle the last-minute changes.

"We believe that certainly our students will perform as well as they would have in the online platform," McQueen said.

The new testing dates are expected to be revealed Thursday. The only thing McQueen said they are waiting on is printing the actual paper tests and delivering them to schools.

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