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Questar Assessment Inc. to Provide 
State Summative Assessments for State of New York

 

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Date: November 23, 2015

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has chosen Questar Assessment Inc. as its statewide summative assessment provider. The Minnesota-based company will conduct the program management, test development, online test administration, scoring, and analysis of the state’s grades 3–8 English language arts and mathematic summative assessments.

The multi-year contract, awarded by NYSED in July of 2015 and recently approved by the state’s attorney general and comptroller, requires Questar to continue the development of the 3–8 Math and ELA assessments and develop computer-based testing applications that will enable districts to transition to online testing at their discretion, as well as providing for the increased development of new test questions and the creation of multiple versions of the exams.

“Our students deserve the best, most accurate assessments we can give them,” Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said. “This new contract recognizes how vitally important it is to have New York State teachers involved in the test development process.”

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia echoed that commitment, saying, “Teacher input is critical to building a successful state test, and that’s why the new contract emulates the collaborative process used to develop the Regents Exams.”

In support of the NYSED objective to involve teachers in the assessment process, Questar is working with the department to provide multiple opportunities for educator participation and input. Questar-conducted Item Writer Workshops are a key component, with local teachers working in teams with Questar Assessment Design staff to formulate test questions. These workshops — along with passage, content, and bias reviews; rangefinding sessions; and form construction workshops — began late this fall and will continue to be facilitated over the course of the year.

Questar will deliver online assessments to districts opting to move online from paper/pencil tests via their Nextera platform. Nextera. the company’s third-generation online assessment system, combines cutting-edge technology insights with decades of test delivery success into an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. Built for exceptionally high levels of scalability, responsiveness, and reliability — and audited by two outside experts to validate its efficacy — Nextera’s core technology has been put to the test by multiple states. Earlier in 2015, the core technology upon which the Nextera delivery platform was built received the APIP v1 Content Package Conformance and the APIP v1 Delivery Conformance by the IMS Global Learning Consortium’s QTI (Question and Test Interoperability)/APIP (Accessible Protocol) Alliance certifications, based on the system’s number of student accommodations and its level of compatibility with third-party test items. Its large set of student tools ensures that students of all abilities have the help they need at their fingertips. With security always on the minds of customers, the platform was developed to anticipate complications such as loss of Internet access, system overload, or cyber-attacks, and deploy safeguards that keep assessments running without interruptions.

In the past five years, Questar Assessment has provided summative assessment services, including end-of-course, alternate and English language proficiency exams, to 34 states and the District of Columbia, and is responsible for test administrations of millions of students annually. As the longtime provider of the Regents Competency Test (RCT) in Reading, Questar is pleased to expand our relationship with the State of New York with this summative contract.

“When we first got the news that we’d been awarded the contract for the New York state assessment program, we were honored that the State Education Department and the Board of Regents had placed their trust in us,” said Jamie Post Candee, president and chief executive officer of Questar Assessment Inc. “Now that work has begun, we are excited to focus on partnering with New York educators to develop assessments that maximize the assessment program’s ultimate instructional value.”

About Questar Assessment Inc.

Questar Assessment Inc. is a K–12 assessment solutions provider focused on providing a bridge between learning and accountability. We take a fresh and innovative approach to meaningful assessment design, delivery, scoring, analysis, and reporting. And we are reimagining how assessments can empower educators by giving them the insights they need to improve instruction and fully prepare students for college or career. Our high quality, reliable assessment products and services can be easily scaled and tailored to meet the specific needs of states and districts at an unprecedented value. Educators trust our high-performing teams and reliable technology to minimize risks and ensure success for states, districts, schools, and students. Questar is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and can be reached at questarai.com or 800-800-2598.