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Officials say thousands of TN Assessment tests were scored incorrectly

Tennessee education officials believe nearly 10,000 assessment tests across the state were scored incorrectly.
The Commercial Appeal in Memphis reports that about 9,400 of the approximately 600,000 TNReady tests that were taken in the last school year were incorrectly scored. Once the errors were corrected, officials say about 1,700 of those 9,400 incorrectly tallied tests actually ended up with a different overall score.
State spokeswoman Sara Gast says the errors did not affect the statewide results. Here is a statement from the Tennessee Department of Education:

The following statement is from Questar, who is the TNReady assessment vendor: “Questar takes responsibility for and apologizes for this scoring error. We are putting in additional steps in our processes to prevent any future occurrence. We are in the process of producing revised reports and committed to doing so as quickly as possible.” —Brad M. Baumgartner Chief Operating Officer

Over the past week, the Tennessee Department of Education has been updating districts about a TNReady EOC scoring issue. To be clear, less than 1 percent of student scores are affected by this issue, which is narrow in scope. Additionally, many of the impacted students will not see any material change in their scores when our final data is updated. We provided this information to be fully transparent with districts and alert them of any issues we found as soon as they were identified. The department completes a myriad of quality checks to ensure all assessment is accurate. These specific issues stem from scanning program changes and resulting delays that our assessment vendor Questar issued a statement about earlier this year – and those errors are now being addressed.

Questar understands the seriousness of this quality lapse, and we have taken additional steps to ensure that these issues are avoided in the future. Though we have reported over 99 percent of grades 3-8 and EOC score data correctly, we need to be at 100 percent accuracy. We hold our vendor and ourselves to the highest standard of delivery because that is what students, teachers, and families in Tennessee deserve. Additional context follows: We identified a data issue through conversations with districts during the TNReady embargo period. The department engaged with our vendor to research a few questions, and, ultimately, Questar determined that they had an error in their scan program, which impacted some English I & II and Integrated Math II end-of-course exams.

Questar’s scanner programming error resulted in 5 form versions of the EOC tests being scored incorrectly, out of 275 versions of the EOC tests administered across all content areas. This means there are about 8,000 tests that were initially reported with a lower scale score than was actually earned. Another 1,400 tests had scale scores that were reported with a higher scale score than was earned. Most of these scale score changes were very small, so just under 1,700 of nearly 600,000 EOC tests (or 0.3%) had any change in overall performance level (e.g. moving from approaching to on track). Questar has now correctly re-scored these tests, and they are processing new score reports for those students, which we will distribute to districts.

Additionally, we will update the individual TVAAS growth measures for those 230 teachers who may be impacted by these student score changes for EOC. We are reaching out to those educators to let them know about this issue through TNCompass. The EOC scoring issue impacted about 70 schools (out of 1,800) in 33 districts (out of 146). Because relatively few – 0.3% –tests had performance level changes, there is no impact to the statewide results. All of the updated information will be reflected in the public TVAAS site and our State Report Card released later this fall.

Final TVAAS composites for educators will also be updated in TNCompass and our TVAAS restricted site. We have been reaching out to impacted districts to ensure they understand the EOC score issue and have a chance to ask questions as we move swiftly to finalize results for district accountability determinations for 2016-17 In addition, we did an in-depth review of the tests of grades 3-8, and confirmed with Questar that there were no issues with the scanning program and resulting scores for any of those tests. The department goes through multiple quality checks to ensure the assessment data that is accurate. For context on the total scope of what we have been reviewing, the department has processed about 1.5 million linkage records to generate individual TVAAS scores for nearly 19,000 educators based on the assessment results from over 1.9 million student tests in grades 2-8 and high school.”

Because TVAAS teacher assessment scores partially rely on student test results, the scores for about 230 educators statewide will need to be recalculated.

Questar Assessment, the company that administers and scores TNReady tests apologized for the errors in a statement. Gast says the scores are due to Questar incorrectly updating its scanning software.

Hamilton County and Bradley County were among the 33 districts affected by the scoring error, which impacted about 70 schools statewide.

Look up your district’s results here

Just over 1,000 of those incorrectly scored were in Shelby County Schools, according to an email from Superintendent Dorsey Hopson to his board on Friday. Metro Nashville Public Schools was also affected. Here is the entire list:

Achievement School District

  • Anderson County
  • Benton County
  • Bradley County
  • Bristol City
  • Carter County
  • Cocke County
  • Collierville City
  • Crockett County
  • Davidson County
  • Elizabethton City
  • Giles County
  • Hamilton County
  • Hardin County
  • Henry County
  • Huntingdon Special School District
  • Jackson-Madison County
  • Knox County
  • Lewis County
  • Lincoln County
  • Marshall County
  • Maryville City
  • Monroe County
  • Montgomery County
  • Obion County
  • Putnam County
  • Roane County
  • Rutherford County
  • Shelby County
  • Smith County
  • Sumner County
  • Union City
  • Weakley County



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