As more problems are reported with TNReady testing, Tennessee lawmakers demand action.
“For the majority of our 6th grade class, they were kicked off line. Half could submit it,” read Rep. Bill Sanderson. The west Tennessee lawmaker says the text messages came from his wife who is a teacher.
House members held up more work on the state budget to figure out what to do with the tests that are so critical to student, teacher, and school evaluations.
“There is a movement to hold the schools, teachers and kids harmless. I just don’t think that is what we do,” said Rep. Sanderson. “I just think we should abandon the tests because we have a whole other week scheduled. What is the point?”
His passionate words echoed in the House chambers from lawmakers tired of TNReady issues, which have ranged from login problems, to submitting the tests, and even a cyberattack Tuesday.
“Two of my four counties have called asking us to suspend this failed Tennessee not ready system,” said Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver. “Now I have all four of my counties pulling their hair out. Testing, kids are losing their answers.”
In between, lawmakers huddled with Department of Education officials for answers. An education spokesperson said, “there was a brief period where some districts experienced a slowdown, but that did not stop the outrage for the education department and the test vendor it hired.”
“We actually have to do something to hold the department and this awful vendor accountable,” said Rep. Matthew Hill.
Mid-Thursday afternoon, House members agreed that this year’s tests would not be used for most student, teacher, and school evaluations. Adopting that amendment allowed the state budget to pass.
When lawmakers come back Monday, there still may be efforts to have paper testing for TNReady.