Under the direction of House Speaker Beth Harwell, State Rep. Jeremy Faison has officially requested a review by Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson related to recent testing issues of the TNReady school assessments.
The request follows several days of problems tied to TNReady’s online testing platform, the most significant of which occurred on Tuesday when the Department of Education reported its testing vendor had experienced a cyber-attack on its computer system. The day before and after this attack, many students were unable to log into or complete their tests. These tests are important to students, teachers, and schools across Tennessee because they count for large portions of final student grades as well as final teacher evaluations and school rankings.
While the legislature passed a bill last week to keep this year’s tests from penalizing a student or teacher for the 2017-2018 school year, there are still multiple questions that remain to be answered by the Department of Education and its TNReady testing vendor, Questar.
“While we may have figured out a temporary fix for this year’s TNReady problems, there are still questions that need to be answered, especially related to the contract with the testing vendor,” said Rep. Faison. “We need to get all of the facts before us so we’re able to make the decisions necessary to best benefit the futures of our students, teachers, and school administrators.”
A few of the specific questions posed by Rep. Faison during initial talks with Comptroller Wilson include:
- Are there clawback provisions available, financial or otherwise, for failures in testing procedures?
- Is Questar required through their contract to act in full faith and fidelity in ensuring testing problems are solved?
- Is Questar contractually required to protect all student testing data? If so, what remedies are available for any personal information accessed or lost during the system’s cyber-attack?
“We owe it to our students and parents to ensure that their personal and confidential information is not compromised, and what steps will be taken to ensure that information is not vulnerable,” saidSpeaker Harwell. “These assessments are important for accountability, and we need teachers, administrators, parents, and students to have confidence in the integrity of the test.”