In Part 2, I described a model for a new, third-generation large-scale assessment program’s structure and requirements. This model, called the Third Evolution of Large-Scale Assessment (TELSA) model, includes three core areas for a third-generation program: design, delivery, and difference:

  1. Design: test design and creation
  2. Delivery: reliability and flexibility of test delivery
  3. Difference: actionable data and services to support change

Questar offers several assessment programs that meet the requirements of the TELSA model. Our primary TELSA-compliant assessment solution leverages Questar’s Nextera online testing platform along with leading program management, psychometric, scoring, and services capabilities. This solution uniquely satisfies the three requirements listed above:


The test design section has three requirements of its own:

  • State specific. Over the past 40 years, Questar has created state-specific assessment programs for 33 states including Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, and Florida CELLA
  • Authentic and distributed. Questar has an innovative test design that incorporates performance assessments throughout the school year, which minimizes time spent on end-of-year assessment and links scores on performance assessments and summative assessments to show within-year growth plus across-year growth.
  • Local involvement. Questar provides local item writer workshops involving local teachers who work as teams to formulate technology-enhanced items in-state.


The delivery of a third-generation assessment should meet requirements in several areas:

  • Questar’s Nextera platform was designed to achieve exceptionally high levels of scalability, responsiveness, and reliability. Its core technology has been been put to the test by multiple states including the ELPA21 ELL consortia of 10 states . It has also been audited by outside experts to validate high performance and reliability.
  • Questar’s TELSA-compliant assessment program offers online testing via the Nextera platform as well as highly-scalable paper/pencil tests. Questar was also the first assessment vendor awarded both APIP certification for student accommodations and QTI certification for test item portability by IMS Global.
  • Assessment of Higher Order Levels of Learning. Questar’s Nextera online assessment platform offers both fixed-form and computer-adaptive testing, as well as all common TEI item types. Questar also provides leading research into multi-subject performance tasks and multidimensional IRT, which allows individual test items to measure multiple standards across subject areas.


Complementing “Design” and “Delivery,” the third component, that of “Difference,” is arguably the most important. How a next-generation assessment program makes a difference at the state and local levels include three key requirements:

  • Questar has an assessment approach that helps ensure student readiness for college or career. We use available data on student performance by state, along with their scores on such third-party assessments as ACT and SAT during the first year of testing, to establish a baseline for the high school assessments.
  • Questar’s Nextera online assessment system presents teachers and administrators with clear, easy-to-understand data visualizations of student results, and future plans will expand upon this capability. Nextera can also aggregate summative student results with local assessment results to provide holistic and predictive view of student achievement and progress.
  • Service oriented. Questar has developed a unique program management model that tailors staff to the unique needs of each large-scale program. Questar also offers data interpretation and psychometric services to help states and their member districts interpret and apply insights from student results.

Questar has also developed TELSA-compliant assessment programs for Smarter Balanced or PARCC consortia member states. Each of these TELSA-compliant solutions offer a third-generation large-scale assessment program that truly provides both accountability and advances in student learning — the true goal of student assessment. More information about Questar’s assessment solutions, and how they match to the TELSA next-generation assessment model, can be found here.