Tennessee chooses new vendor for state assessment tests

TNReady, TCAP testing_185220

NASHVILLE (WATE) – The Tennessee Department of Education said Wednesday it is awarding a $60 million contract to develop and administer annual state assessment tests for the 2016-17 school year to a company called Questar.

Commissioner Candice McQueen also said the state will phase in online testing over multiple years to ensure state, district and vendor readiness. All tests this upcoming year in third through eighth grades will be administered via paper and pencil. The state will work with Questar to provide an online option for high school end of course exams. Paper and pencil tests will still be available.

The assessments are part of the state’s Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP). The tests will continue to feature multiple types of questions to measure the depth of state academic standards.Previous story:Who’s to blame? State, testing company at odds over cancelled TNReady tests

Contract details are still being finalized with Questar. The contract would be for two years with an option to extend it to up to five years.

For the previous school year, the Tennessee Department of Education hired Measurement Incorporated, a North Carolina-based assessment developer, to create an online test for Tennessee’s new state standards called TNReady. The day students were supposed to take the test online, officials say only about half were able to take the test. The others saw major delays.

The state then ordered printed tests, which due to the short deadline and large number of tests, were unable to be delivered on time. The state eventually terminated the contract with Measurement Inc. and cancelled the testing.

The problems “ultimately demonstrated the vendor’s inability to successfully support statewide online testing for Tennessee this year using their current testing platform,” said McQueen at the time.

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