Shorter testing times coming, says Tenn. education department

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Department of Education said Thursday they are streamlining their assessments to “provide a better testing experience for teachers and students.”

Starting this year, all state assessments will be administered in one window near the end of the school year. There will no longer be two-part tests.

Education officials also plan to phase in online tests over multiple years to ensure the state, districts, schools, and most importantly our vendor are prepared.

For the 2016-17 school year, state tests will be paper and pencil for grades three through eight. High schools will also use paper and pencil as well as an online option.

Related story: Tennessee chooses new vendor for state assessment tests

Social studies will be a field test for students grades three through eight, but the U.S. history exam for high school will continue as planned.

“Our goal hasn’t changed. Provide students the chance to show critical thinking, problem solving, and writing skills to ensure success after high school,” officials said.

The state says the changes mean shorter test times, with grades three through eight with tests between 200 and 210 minutes shorter and most high school tests about 40 to 120 minutes shorter.

“We are still working toward the same goal, but now have a smarter logistical approach and a stronger partner in Questar to achieve this goal,” the Department of Education added.

The changes come after a year of troubles with the statewide TNReady tests that led many school districts to cancel, postpone or withdraw from testing altogether.

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