That’s how this article in Education Week defines the TNReady testing experience.
It starts like this: Just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong with online state testing this year in Tennessee.
The piece walks through the saga that has been TNReady. Here are some highlights:
Then, thanks to human error at some schools, about 1,400 students ended up taking the wrong version of the TNReady exam
Except it wasn’t human error at the schools. As I reported on April 26th, the Department of Education said about the issue:
“There was a poorly designed feature of the online testing system that contributed to some users accidentally administering a test to students that was below their grade level, including those at Norris Middle School. We’ve provided guidance to the district staff and the building testing coordinator to invalidate these tests. Students are not required to re-test, and their tests will not be scored.
Then, again with the dump truck:
And a rogue dump truck severed one of the state’s main fiber-optic cables, causing temporary connectivity problems during the testing period.
Except not really:
“There is no evidence this was anything other than a side effect of the issue with the fiber cut, but we continue to look into it,” Sara Gast, a spokeswoman for the state education department, said last week.
But internet provider Education Networks of America disputes that, saying that the West Tennessee issues were not related to the cable cut.
What happened in those cases remains a mystery, for now.
The article says:
On the second day of testing, Questar was flooded with unanticipated traffic that overwhelmed the company’s servers and prevented some students from connecting to the TNReady testing platform.
How was the testing traffic unanticipated? Was Questar counting on a bunch of students missing school on the second day of testing? Did they not know how many students would be logging on ant the relative times that would happen? They were paid $30 million to figure that out… and didn’t.
While lots of states are moving to online testing, one expert says Tennessee is unique:
“I’m not aware of a state that has had a more troubled transition” to online testing, said Douglas A. Levin of the consulting group EdTech Strategies.
Why is Tennessee in the unique position of having the worst online testing transition in the country?
The reality is that Tennessee’s online-testing mess has left everyone in a difficult position, said Chad Aldeman, a principal at Bellwether Education Partners, a consulting organization.
“The state has not [made] stability a key priority in their testing vendors,” Aldeman said.
Ultimately, responsibility should rest at the feet of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen, who so far has avoided any accountability for the ongoing testing mishaps in the state.
For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport