Regents not pleased with testing company

The Board of Regents meets in the NYS Education Building in Albany in May 2016.
The Board of Regents meets in the NYS Education Building in Albany in May 2016.

ALBANY — The state’s top education official has “no confidence” in the testing company currently administering the state’s annual math and English language arts tests.

During Monday’s Board of Regents meeting in Albany, members of the board vented their frustrations with Questar Assessment, the testing company that for the second straight year experienced significant problems in administering computer-based testing. A memory issue with Questar’s servers on the second day of testing caused long delays and problems submitting test results in schools across the state.

“They can sign 10 letters of commitment and confidence, I have zero confidence in this small company that continues to have these major issues,” Chancellor Betty Rosa said at the Monday board meeting.

Still, the board moved ahead with the federally-mandated tests even as its members suggested they had lost all trust in the company managing the testing program.

“Every year this testing program has just not been 100 percent, and I’m not sure it can ever be 100 percent,” said Regent Roger Tilles. “I can’t approve any of the rest of this testing cycle or any other testing cycle until it’s proven the tests are fair, unglitched and diagnostic for students.”

The state has one more year in its contract with Questar, and the Regents appeared uninterested in continuing that contract. But some members of the board also expressed concerns with the challenge of finding a company capable of managing the massive scale of the testing effort in New York.

“There’s no other place like New York,” Regent Lester Young said. “Does New York state have the internal readiness and capacity to implement what we are doing?”

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