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State Severs Contract With RISE Testing Provider


After on-going problems throughout the annual statewide student testing window this spring, the Utah State Board of Education today (Friday) voted to terminate the $44 million contract it has with Questar Assessment. 

In a press release, the Utah State Board of Education announced it has canceled the RISE testing contract after learning the hard way that the program was marred with glitches. The decision comes at the end of a testing window filled with interruptions and other technology problems with the platform used by Questar for the computer-adaptive tests. Rather than risk continued interruptions, the state school board is terminated what would have been a 10-year $44 million contract.

In order to comply with state and federal laws and offer continuity in assessment data, Utah will pursue a short-term contract with an alternative provider with demonstrated capacity to deliver a statewide testing system beginning next school year.

At the same time, the state board will engage in a separate, standard procurement process to select a long-term provider.

Board of Education Chair Mark Huntsman says  Utah will negotiate the cancellation of the contract with many provisions, including potential damages for failure to live up to the terms of the contract. The full cost of terminating the Questar contract and initiating a new one with an alternative provider won’t be known for weeks.

The Board is scheduled to meet next in early August but could call a special meeting earlier if needed.

As required by state law, Utah has administered end-of-year, computer-adaptive statewide assessments since 2013. Students in grades 3-8 test in English language arts and math, those in grades 4- 8 also test in science, and those in grades 5 and 8 also take a writing test.