We'll do our best to keep you posted on what's happening with state tests. But, for starters, here's the text of an email Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen sent to educators to explain important changes for this year. Here's the big one: The test will take less time. Yes, it's still a lot, especially for younger children, but the total time spent testing will be less -- and that's a move in the right direction.
Here's what McQueen had to say:
We’ve reduced testing time. In grades 3–8, students will have tests that are 200–210 minutes shorter than last year; in high school, most individual End of Course assessments have been shortened by 40-120 minutes.
- We will phase in online tests over multiple years. For the upcoming school year, the state assessments for grades 3–8 will be administered via paper and pencil. However, the department will work closely with Questar, our new testing vendor, to provide an online option for high school math, ELA, and U.S. history & geography exams if both schools and the testing platform demonstrate early proof of successful online administration. Even if schools demonstrate readiness for online administration, districts will still have the option to choose paper and pencil assessments for high school students this year. Biology and chemistry End of Course exams will be administered via paper and pencil.
- In the coming school year, the state will administer a social studies field test, rather than an operational assessment, for students in grades 3–8. This will take place during the operational testing window near the end of the year. Additionally, some students will participate in ELA and/or U.S. history field tests outside the operational testing window.
Again, this is the beginning of what we hope will be more information on what to expect in terms of TNReady and testing this school year.
We'll update you as more information comes available.