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Jason Golden, Deputy Superintendent & Gen. Counsel/Acting Superintendent of Williamson County Schools published the following letter to WCS parents regarding online testing in the school’s online publication InFocus.

Dear Williamson County Parents,

On behalf of WCS, I want to apologize to you and your children for having to endure the State’s failed online testing program these past two weeks. We know that this has been difficult for everyone involved, and for that we are sorry.

State standardized testing has been required for decades in Tennessee. What has changed in the past few years is that the Tennessee Department of Education has been trying to transition to online testing. As many of you know, they have had massive difficulties with online administration of TNReady and high school End of Course exams (EOCs). These online problems have affected our grades 5-11.

Here’s a quick timeline of what our students and staff have undergone since State testing began last week:

Monday, April 16: Login problems affecting approximately 15,000 students.

Tuesday, April 17: Login problems affecting approximately 8,000 students.

Wednesday, April 18: WCS suspended testing to give the TDOE time to correct problems.

Thursday, April 19: Login problems affecting approximately 1,000 students.

Friday, April 20: No significant issues reported.

Monday, April 23: No significant issues reported.

Tuesday, April 24: System defaults caused 100+ students to take the wrong grade level test.

Wednesday, April 25: Delays and canceled testing affecting approximately 8,000 students.

Thursday, April 26: System lockout affecting approximately 15,000 students.

Friday, April 27: No significant issues reported.

The State administration problems reached such a crisis that the Tennessee General Assembly intervened. They passed a bill last week that ensured that testing would not count for students this year in grades 3-8. Also, there has been a rule change at the State level that allows local school boards to vote on whether high school EOCs will count this year for student grades. Unfortunately, as of this writing, the State still plans to count this year’s assessments as part of our teachers’ evaluations and level of effectiveness scores. This data will continue to be used in their evaluations for the next several years. We don’t know all the ways this may come back on local school systems over the next few years.

Our School Board will have a Special Called meeting on May 7 at 6 p.m. to consider the weight of EOC examinations on student final averages for the 2017-18 school year.

Thank you for your patience.

Jason Golden
Deputy Superintendent & Gen. Counsel/Acting Superintendent
Williamson County Schools