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Testing issues cause delays

Xavier Smith • Apr 16, 2018 at 5:22 PM

What may have been a minor hiccup that caused a delay in state testing Monday, it increased the ongoing criticism of the exam, which many have called flawed and plagued with issues.

Wilson County Schools suspended its online testing in sixth through 12th grades due to issues with the Nextera platform. The district said testing would resume Tuesday after the testing vendor, Questar, identified the problem.

The Tennessee Department of Education released a statement on the testing issues Monday morning.

“We share the frustration that some students had challenges logging into Nextera this morning. Questar has fixed this issue, and thousands of students are on the platform now. Over 25,000 students have successfully completed TN Ready tests as of this point [Monday]. No server has crashed, and the issue was not statewide. This issue was not related to volume. Testing has resumed,” the release said.

Many parents questioned how the issue was not “statewide” after issues were reported from districts in Cumberland, Cannon, Rutherford, Knox, Washington, Grundy and several other counties.

The issue only affected online exams, as elementary students using paper and pencil were not affected.

The delay follows a series of issues that surrounded the TN Ready exam and its implementation, including last year, which saw more than 9,000 exams scored incorrectly by exam vendor Questar Assessment. .

Students in third through eighth grades were unable to take the exam the previous year, as the previous state exam assessor failed to launch an online test and was unable to deliver testing materials to districts in time.

The delays and miscues prompted parents and administrators to question the reliability of the state assessment, as well as the impact it has on students and educators.

The inconsistency prompted Wilson County Director of Schools Donna Wright to declare the 2015-2016 school year a hold harmless year for TN Ready scores in the district.

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