After troubles last spring with the critical statewide school test called TNReady, Governor Bill Haslam outlined some immediate changes Wednesday, but a major piece remains for the next Governor. State capitol newsroom reporter Chris Bundgaard tells us about what was done and what’s ahead.
“We had a platform to deliver that assessment that didn’t work, but I still think it’s the right thing. I really do and its why it’s been so painful,” says Haslam.
Haslam hopes those TNReady tests so critical to student, teacher, and school evaluations won’t go away, but it will up to either Bill Lee or Karl Dean’s administration to choose a new company to administer the tests. That will happen after request for proposals (RFPs) or bids are prepared as one of the last things done by the Haslam administration.
The current testing company has taken the blame for problems last spring and will still be in place next spring, before the new administration chooses a new company to administer TNReady.
“We won’t be here, but the reason we have done this over the last 8-9 weeks was to do everything we could to prepare to go as well as possible when we hand it to them,” says Haslam.
Last April, there were a multitude of troubles with students trying to take the online version of TNReady tests. In a bill passed by lawmakers, the test results were eventually tossed out unless they benefited the student, teacher, or school.
But Governor Haslam wanted to hear more about in statewide listening tour of educators run by retired school superintendent Wayne Miller.
“Some of the key things that we heard pretty consistently across the state was nobody wanted to go backward,” says Miller.
Some of those immediate changes designed to avoid the spring problems of implementing the test include better training of teachers or administrators who give the test, better written testing manuals, better computer access so they are not shared, and even less testing paper to manage.