Tennessee governor unveils upgrades to student assessments
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has unveiled new changes to improve the state’s problem-plagued elementary and secondary school online testing process.
Haslam announced Wednesday that TNReady will now produce faster test results, provide teachers with more resources to prepare their students for the test and offer schools more affordable technology devices.
The changes come at a time when Haslam is preparing to leave office and hand off the troubled test administration to a new governor – where both Democrat Karl Dean and Republican Bill Lee vying for the office have advocated for a total reset of the system.
Haslam says the TNReady tests will be administered in the spring of 2019 regardless of who wins in November. However, the state hopes to contract with a new vendor by the spring.
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The 5 steps announced by the Governor today:
- Greater access to technology by pursuing implementation of the Tennessee Student Technology Enrichment Program (TNSTEP) to provide school districts with more affordable options for obtaining technology devices.
- Smarter delivery of the assessments based on grade levels. Grades 3-4 testing will remain paper only; grades 5-8 will continue testing science online and other subject areas will move online upon vendor demonstrating readiness; and high school end-of-course assessments will be administered online, but the state will explore offering reading passages in paper copy.
- Faster results will be delivered to teachers and families as priority will be given to an assessment vendor that can provide electronic delivery by creating an online login once scores are available.
- Better preparation will be available by providing additional TNReady practice test items to teachers and students and by pursuing an option that would allow districts to deliver optional benchmarks tests that mirror TNReady.
- More Tennessee partnerships will be established by awarding additional credit during the procurement process to a vendor that plans to partner with Tennessee companies and universities as part of test development and administration.