Skip to Main Content

TN Ready Test Development: Process and Costs


October 2020

Author: Linda Wesson

Legislative Brief

The Comptroller’s Office of Research and Education Accountability has prepared a brief in response to legislative interest in how test questions are developed for Tennessee’s annual state standardized tests, known as TN Ready, taken by students of the state’s public K-12 schools. The brief provides an overview of the test development process with a focus on test development costs, public release of test questions and answers after each year’s testing is completed, and the role the state’s public universities might play in test development.

The brief provides details on the factors that impact:

  • test development costs, which totaled about $9.2 million in 2018-19, or about one-fourth of the state’s total testing program expenditures, and
  • the number of test items that can be released publicly and their effect on testing costs.

The brief also explains the role of contracted vendors, such as Pearson and ETS, in developing and administering state standardized tests, as well as the roles of Tennessee teachers and other district educators, and how other states have involved their public universities.