Warren County students in grades 3-8 were scheduled to take end-of-course standardized tests this week.
But due to the failure of third-party test provider Measurement Inc., the state abruptly canceled its contract last week and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced students in grades 3-8 would not be taking the tests.
“This is kind of a heartache really,” said Director of Schools Bobby Cox. “We like to know where we stand and where we’re headed. This really puts us in neutral for two years because we lose our baseline.”
Cox said he understands why the state severed its contract with Measurement Inc. because the company repeatedly missed deadlines. It was first supposed to provide an online testing platform for students and when that failed it was supposed to provide a paper and pencil backup. That didn’t happen either.
“It’s a really big deal,” said Cox of the company failing to deliver the test. “We’re required by law to give assessments and they’re linked to school accountability and teacher accountability.”
In an email to teachers, McQueen said the new standardized test, called TNReady, was designed to provide Tennessee students, teachers, and families with better information about what students know and understand.
“The transition to a new assessment this year has been challenging, but aligned assessments are critical to ensure all students are making progress on their path to postsecondary opportunities and the workforce,” said McQueen. “I have seen first-hand how hard you have worked to align your instruction to our newer, more rigorous standards. You and your students have risen to higher expectations, and I hope you are encouraged by the growth in critical thinking and problem solving that you have seen in your classrooms every day.”