The Chattanooga Times Free Press notes that Governor Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen are considering ending the state’s relationship with Questar:
Gov. Bill Haslam said the state is conducting an independent review of its current contractor running the problem-plagued TNReady student testing system and, depending on its findings, the company could be out of the picture once its current contract ends in November.
The likely replacement for Questar is Education Testing Service (ETS):
McQueen said that in addition to the state’s third-party review of Questar’s operations, the state is already going to move “all of our test development and design” to Educational Testing Services, which she said has a “reputation for very high quality work.”
Sounds great, right? Firing the vendor that was baffled by hackers and dump trucks and replacing them with a group with a solid reputation.
Except for just one thing:
Education Testing Services, the global billion dollar nonprofit that administers more than 50 million tests (including the GRE and TOEFL) across the world, recently sealed an agreement to acquire Questar, a Minnesota-based for-profit testing service, for $127.5 million. According to the press release, Questar will become a separate for-profit subsidiary of ETS.
Questar offers what they describe as a “fresh and innovative” method of testing for grades 3-8—providing states with summative assessments, design support, scalable technological innovation, administrative help, scoring and reporting services.
Ok, so maybe ETS will step in and give its baby brother Questar some guidance going forward? Well:
The changes highlight a possible strategic shift for ETS whose reputation came under fire last year when the nonprofit had to pay $20.7 million dollars in damages and upgrades after multiple testing problems in Texas.
Let’s get this straight: Governor Haslam and Commissioner McQueen think no one in Tennessee understands Google? They are “firing” the company that messed up this year’s testing and hiring a new company that owns the old one and that also has a reputation for messing up statewide testing.
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