Questar Assessment, Inc., the company responsible for administering the TNReady exams, recently released a statement responding to the TN Comptroller’s report. The report, which was administered after the numerous testing issues caused in 2018, found numerous points of interest, including the lack of sufficient and details data that rendered Questar less effective as a monitoring tool, changing the text-to-speech software without notification, a lack of customer support, failure to track documents and provide status updates, and inadequate evaluation and monitoring of internal controls.
The testing issues caused many log-in and submission problems throughout the state, rendering many of the tests unusable. Coffee County Schools issued a vote of no confidence as a result.
Questar Assessment, which did not respond after the audit’s released on Dec. 19, released a statement on Jan. 3.
“We understand the frustration with TNReady testing last spring,” said Questar Assessment Chief Operating Officer Brad Baumgartner in the release. “We have a long history of successfully serving our customers, and we look forward to continuing those partnerships in the future.”
The response added that Questar “does not agree with several of the Tennessee Comptroller’s findings,” but does appreciate the thorough nature and inclusion.
“Questar has always held the position that the pattern of data discovered during Spring TNReady administration was consistent with what could have been an attack, but we did not at any time indicate that a cyberattack was certain,” Baumgartner said.
In response to the lack of staff on hand, the assessment company was caught off guard and has since implemented a process to improve outbound communication, Baumgartner added.
“Because we had never experienced an issue of this magnitude, we had not developed appropriate outbound communication channels that would have better informed state and district staff. These channels are now in place, thanks to the work of the Tennessee Department of Education and Questar. Our centers will continue to be properly staffed for any additional questions,” Baumgartner says.
“We are not standing still. Questar Assessment is committed to continually advancing our processes, technology, and security,” Baumgartner says. “We look forward to serving Tennessee teachers and students this spring with the best testing experience possible.”