The State Education Department today announced that Questar Assessment, Inc. will be awarded the contract to develop the State’s grades 3-8 ELA and mathematics assessments. The contract with Questar, Inc. must still be approved by the Attorney General and State Comptroller. The new contract, valued at approximately $44 million, will run for five years and include a district option to administer the tests on computers.
“Our students deserve the best, most accurate assessments we can give them,” Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said. “Teachers and parents should have clear, practical information to help them help their students learn. Our goal is to continue to improve the assessments to make sure they provide the instructional support parents and teachers need to prepare our students for college and careers. This new contract also recognizes how vitally important it is to have New York State teachers involved in the test development process.”
“New York State teachers will be involved in every step of the test development process,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “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.”
“Questar, Inc. will also provide computer based testing (CBT) platforms that will help reduce the need for stand-alone field tests, and more importantly, help make our assessments even better instructional tools.”
The new contract has two components. Component 1 is for the development of grades 3–8 ELA and mathematics assessments and an operational bank of test items. Component 2 is for the development of CBT capabilities for administration of grades 3–8 ELA and mathematics assessments. The vendor must provide test administration and test delivery platforms that can be used by computers at New York State’s public, nonpublic, and charter schools. The vendor will move toward embedding all field test multiple-choice items in approximately 22-28 computer delivered operational test forms per grade level.
Under the terms of the contract, New York State teachers will be instrumental in the development of the assessments at several stages in the process.
Questar, Inc. is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and has offices in Brewster, NY. Questar, Inc. was awarded the contract through an RFP process. Four firms bid on the contract.