Grace Tatter over at Chalkbeat has an informative interview with the President of Measurement Inc., the company charged with delivering TNReady this year.
As I read the interview, a couple of items stood out. First, the company had never delivered an entire state’s online testing program. Tatter notes:
It was also an unprecedented task for Measurement Inc., which had never before developed and delivered a state’s entire online testing program.
Despite this, they somehow won the bid to deliver Tennessee’s program.
Second, the magnitude of the failure. Tatter:
About 48,000 students logged on that day, and about 18,000 submitted assessments. It’s unknown the number of students who weren’t having troubles with the test, but stopped after McQueen sent an email instructing districts to halt testing.
“It was a failure in some respects because we were supposed to design a system that would take 100,000 students in at one time… We had a problem with 48,000,” Scherich said.
Read that again. Measurement Inc. was tasked with developing an online platform that could handle 100,000 students taking a test at the same time. The system they developed couldn’t handle 48,000 students. They didn’t even develop a system that could handle HALF of what they were contracted to provide.
The company president goes on to detail the challenges of printing the tests in a short timeframe. However, back in February, Education Commissioner Candice McQueen expressed confidence in the printed tests:
“I want to stress to you that the paper version of TNReady is still TNReady,” McQueen wrote of the new test aligned to the state’s current Common Core academic standards.
She said the paper tests are being shipped to each district at no additional taxpayer cost.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Phase I tests did arrive, albeit quite late. And Phase II tests were not delivered in time to be administered this year.
Now, the state is seeking another vendor who can deliver the test in the 2016-17 academic year.
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So, basically, I can bid on a state project affecting our children’s education, without any prior experience and win it if I am the lowest bid? I’m sure McQueen would say that’s too simplistic, but I think it sums things up nicely. Either MI lied and should be investigated for fraud, someone in our education system is benefitting from MI winning the bid, or those in charge of our children’s education are complete idiots. Maybe all 3………..
One thing to keep in mind is this contract was NOT awarded under Dr. McQueen’s leadership. The prior commissioner signed the contract.
Furthermore, my recommendation would be to stop the insanity of testing and put the funding into schools…..
I doubt that there’s any company out there that can deliver online tests in the time frame of a re-bid. Finally, has anyone reviewed the research base of online testing…. Just moving from paper/pencil to online, testing scores are going to plummet. We talk about implementing research based practices in education, but many times actually implement laws/policies that contradict the research….
I have some spare time and a case if paper. Let me have a crack at it.
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