Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today received a report from educators with feedback, recommendations and immediate action steps on how to improve the delivery of the state's elementary and secondary assessments known as TNReady. The report was generated from a recent statewide roundtable listening tour with teachers, testing coordinators and school administrators, and from educators who submitted comments through an online feedback form.
Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen participated in each of the six roundtable discussions to hear from educators on the challenges they faced in the online administration of TNReady. The discussions were led by an educator advisory team that used the feedback to identify specific ways to improve the state's testing program.
"I am grateful to educators from all across the state who actively participated in these discussions and offered real solutions on how to improve the delivery of TNReady. We must get this right and this report and recommendations will help us get there," Haslam said.
The report lays out immediate action steps to improve the testing process this school year and will assist in procuring the testing partner for the 2019-20 school year and beyond. It also reflects a large amount of feedback from professional educators that will be helpful as the administration prepares to hand off the baton to the next governor in an effort to set up the next administration, teachers and students for success.
The governor will review the recommendations and present a response to the report in the coming weeks.
The report outlines four primary challenges of the assessment process:
* Restoring the credibility of TNReady;
* Creating greater student accessibility to technology;
* Receiving results from the assessment in a timely manner;
* Aligning instructional resources to the assessments.
As outlined in the report, the educator advisory team identified several immediate action steps for the Department of Education to take this school year, many of which have already been undertaken.
* Release of the test administration manual earlier;
* Review the test administration manual for clarity, consistency and errors;
* Consolidate the form or version combination of the tests;
* Improve the quality of the paper test delivery boxes to make them sturdier, less likely to break;
* Increase the size of the students' test tickets;
* Deliver information and materials to schools earlier;
* Strengthen the response time and customer service of the help desk operators;
* Shorten the length of time between administration of the test and providing results to schools and families;
* Reduce the number of submission errors by automatically caching submissions and improving training; and
* Perform a large-scale verification test of the computer-based testing platform.
The educator advisory team also submitted educator recommendations to improve TNReady for 2019-20 school year and beyond, which includes feedback and comments specific to the next administration.
The listening tour and report are part of a multi-phase plan to improve TNReady. The next phases include implementing feedback from the listening tour, refining the requirements for the assessment partner that will be identified through a new request for proposals (RFP) this year, providing on-the-ground oversight of the fall test administration, and developing further opportunities for feedback from educators and stakeholders.