Thousands of state assessment tests scored incorrectly

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Tennessee education officials believe nearly 10,000 assessment tests across the state were scored incorrectly.

The Commercial Appeal reports that about 9,400 of the approximately 600,000 TNReady tests that were taken in the last school year were incorrectly scored.

Once the errors were corrected, officials say about 1,700 of those 9,400 incorrectly tallied tests actually ended up with a different overall score.

State spokeswoman Sara Gast says the errors did not affect the statewide results.

Because TVAAS teacher assessment scores partially rely on student test results, the scores for about 230 educators statewide will need to be recalculated.

Questar Assessment, the company that administers and scores TNReady tests apologized for the errors in a statement.

Gast says the scores are due to Questar incorrectly updating its scanning software.

Call for accountability

Parents, teachers, and Shelby County Schools came together Monday to call for accountability after learning the Tennessee test scores were misjudged again.

"Serves as grave concern, grave concern," Shelby County Schools board chairwoman Shante Avant said.

TNReady scores reflect on student and teacher records and poor scores allow the state to take over schools.

"This is not a matter to be taken lightly," said United Education Association of Shelby County President Tikeila Rucker. "Teachers lose their jobs because of these scores."

Tennessee Department of Education estimates about 1,000 tests in Shelby County alone were misgraded. This is the third year in a row TNReady tests have been incorrectly graded.

"You want to be shocked, but at the same time, it's just like, what do you expect? We've seen this over and over again," Rucker said.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson stood in solidarity with the group and agrees something must be done.

"Given the high stakes nature of tests, we just want to be accurate. And when they're not accurate, it just casts a cloud of doubt over the whole process," Hopson said.

Meanwhile, parents are concerned about their students.

"It's a grave concern of mine that my child has the potential to not participate in that particular program due to the inability for our department of education to have accurate data," Cheronda Thompson said.

Tennessee Department of Education responded with the following statement:

"Last week, the department proactively shared with districts, educators, and the public about a scoring issue that affects less than 1 percent of all TNReady exams. This was caused by the vendor, Questar, making a scoring error. Though we have reported over 99 percent of grades 3-8 and EOC score data correctly, we need to be at 100 percent accuracy."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.