Tennessee has entered into a contract with Pearson Education to have it score the TNReady assessments this year after the previous vendor was fired this spring.
News outlets report that the Tennessee Department of Education gave Pearson the $18.5 million job, avoiding a competitive bidding process because of a law that allows for the state to enter into non-competitive bidding in cases of emergencies arising from unforeseen causes.
The state is still looking for a testing vendor who will administer the state's standardized tests next year after the state announced in April that it had terminated its five-year contract with Measurement Inc., following repeated failures earlier this year.
This was the first year of TNReady assessments replacing the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program tests, which Pearson had administered from 2003-14.
As for the scores that will be reveled on the tests, reports to WGNS indicate that multiple teachers in Rutherford County told their students that the testing will not count for anything prior to students taking the tests. That being said, it is likely that hundreds if not thousands of students did not give the test the needed effort this school year.
James Evans with the Rutherford County School System told WGNS NEWS:
- For students, the test results will not be back in time to count toward their second semester grades. State laws requires that the results have to be back within five days of the end of the school year to be used in second semester grades. However, schools do use testing and class performance data to make decisions about class placement, such as placement in honors or other advanced classes.
- For teachers, the state has said the results can be used for their evaluations if the data helps their overall scores. Teachers have the choice to use the data. In the absence of data, teacher results from the previous year will be used for a teacher's evaluation.
- For schools and districts, the Tennessee Department of Education has told us they will use a variety of data, including any testing data available, to determine how schools and districts are performing.
Evans said, "So even though the testing process did not go as the Department of Education planned this year, any data derived from the tests may still be a factor for students, teachers, schools and school districts."