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Feedback Helps Push TNReady Changes

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The Detroit Free Press | Commercial Appeal
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Governor Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced changes to the delivery of the TNReady on Wednesday, a day after 50,000 Tennessee high schools students successfully completed a simulation of the test meant to determine whether online platform bugs had been resolved. 

TNReady is the state's standardized test for public school students. Some of the changes - such as earlier access to test administration documents and a more responsive help desk - will take effect immediately. Others will begin in the 2019-20 school year.

The governor's office says the changes are a direct response to feedback gleaned from Haslam's statewide listening tour, which kicked off in August. The goals of the tour were to engage in open conversation about assessment and improved administration, gather feedback, discuss how to better provide results, and distinguish assessment content from delivery. 

Calling TNReady "one of [his] biggest frustrations," Governor Haslam told reporters that teachers statewide complained about limited access to internet and computer resources. As a fix, the state plans to implement the Tennessee Student Technology Enrichment Program (TNSTEP), which will provide school districts with more affordable options for obtaining technology devices. Commissioner McQueen said the program will identify companies able to provide high-quality devices (i.e. MacBooks, Chromebooks, etc.) at competitive rates and allow districts to purchase, finance, or lease the equipment.

Other changes include the method through which the test is delivered. Students in grades 3 and 4 will take the test on paper; grades 5-8 will test science online and other subjcts will move online upon vendor demonstrating readiness; and high school end-of-course assesments will be administered online. Teachers and families will also receive test results earlier.