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Board breaks with testing company: Will your kid’s RISE scores count?

Education

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The Utah Board of Education announced Friday it will be cutting ties with Questar, the RISE test vendor for the 2018-2019 school year after “glitches” in the test administration. So will your child’s test scores count this year? Short answer: probably.

Your child’s classroom may or may not have experienced the “glitches;” some schools reported that on certain days, the computer adaptive platform simply wouldn’t give them access to their test, forcing them to re-arrange testing days with no notice. The State Board is still evaluating to see if those glitches were enough to negatively impact scores, but the glitches themselves were enough for the Board to cut ties with Questar just one year into a ten-year contract.

The actual RISE test, the questions students answered, was provided by the state of Utah, and will be carried forward into the next test provider. The RISE test has been used for the past six years, so the Board feels confident that they have enough material with which to evaluate the scores of this problematic testing season.

The RISE test is not a timed test, so though the students may have experienced unplanned interruptions, all students were able to finish the test eventually and all scores will be evaluated. The Board says they are confidant most tests will provide valid data.

The Board is now in the process of seeking a new vendor for their 2019-2020 school year, and are pursuing a three-year contract with a new company.

Questar’s 10-year contract would have cost $40 million total; in the one year since it’s inception, the Board has paid about $6 million, some of which may be refunded because of poor performance.

Brad Baumgartner, Chief Operating Officer at Questar Assessment Inc. responded; “While we regret this decision, Questar Assessment Inc.
is going to do everything possible to ensure a smooth transition. We have committed to the Utah State Board of Education that we will maintain services on behalf of Utah students, teachers, and districts across the state until such time that an alternative vendor is selected.”

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