The New York State Education Department (NYSED) awarded Questar Assessment Inc. (Questar) its statewide summative assessment provider contract after undergoing a competitive procurement process. The Minnesota-based company will continue to develop New York’s grades 3–8 English language arts (ELA) and mathematics assessments, providing for computer-based and paper-based testing for a period of five years.
“We are honored that NYSED has selected Questar to continue to support the state’s highly-regarded assessment program,” said Stephen Lazer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Questar Assessment. “We look forward to building on the significant progress that this partnership has already produced.”
Questar has served as New York’s statewide summative assessment vendor for ELA and mathematics since 2015. During this period, Questar has been instrumental in supporting the state’s efforts to dramatically increase the involvement of New York teachers in the development of the statewide assessments, collaborating with NYSED on an innovative model through which state educators participate in the writing of the assessment questions. This model has been so successful that New York’s grades 3–8 ELA and mathematics summative assessments test questions are now entirely written by New York teachers and educators.
As Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. stated in NYSED’s press release announcing the award, “The Board of Regents and I are committed to providing equity, access and opportunities for all of New York’s students, especially in this ongoing period of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Chancellor Young continued, “Through the requirements of this new contract, we will ensure that the people who know our students best, teachers who are instructing students every day, will remain at the forefront of the test development process.”
State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said in NYSED’s press release, “Every question on the future grades 3-8 assessments will continue to be created, reviewed and selected by New York State educators to ensure that we are giving our children equitable opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned.” In addition, “this new contract will also require stringent measures to hold the vendor accountable, so parents and students can be reassured that the assessments are backed by integrity and security.”
During the initial contract, Questar piloted the first computer-based testing of New York’s summative assessment and subsequently supported more than 20 percent of schools in transitioning to computer-based testing using Nextera™, Questar’s online assessment platform.
The new contract also gives NYSED the option to transition delivery of New York’s science assessments for grades 5 and 8 to computer-based testing in the Nextera platform.
Questar Assessment has provided assessment services—including grades 3-8 summative assessments, as well as end-of-course assessments, alternate assessments, ELA proficiency exams, and interim benchmark testing—to 34 states over the past 40 years and is responsible for the test administrations of millions of students annually.
About Questar Assessment Inc.
Questar Assessment Inc. is a K–12 assessment solutions provider focused on building a bridge between learning and accountability. As a wholly-owned, independently-operated subsidiary of Educational Testing Service (ETS), Questar Assessment shares a belief that better measurement solutions can make a positive impact on education. Questar Assessment takes a fresh and innovative approach to design, delivery, scoring, analysis, and reporting. The company’s high-quality, reliable assessment products and services are easily scaled and tailored to meet the specific needs of states and districts. Questar Assessment Inc. is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Learn more at questarai.com.