JEFFERSON CITY – A testing company has agreed to pay for Missouri students to take two tests this year after producing 2017 end-of-year exam results so unreliable that the state threw them out.
End-of-year exams for high school students taking Algebra I and English II were flagged last year after problems with the statewide results raised concerns.
The spring 2017 results showed decreased numbers of students scoring at "proficient" or "advanced" levels in the tests, according to an advisory committee.
The Joint Committee on Education discussed the unreliable scores Monday, asking state education officials about what went wrong and what remedial steps have been taken, the Springfield News-Leader reported .
Questar Assessment Inc. "essentially discounted this year" after the testing slip-up last year, said Stacey Preis, deputy commissioner of the Education Department.
"Essentially, the districts are not paying anything — nor are we — for this year's Algebra I and English II, plus some additional lost staff time, is what that amount ends up being," Preis said.
The discount was applied to the Questar contract in the form of a $750,000 "service credit," according to contract documents provided by the Education Department.
The documents also included requirements for Questar to provide preliminary reports as tests are completed, develop "a detailed Quality Assurance Plan to ensure that products and processes are accurate and provided according to projected timelines" and give additional information like a calendar of critical dates and contingency plans.
Questar's contract with Missouri covers the current school year. The Education Department is drafting a fresh call for bids on an upcoming state testing contract, according to Mike Harris, legislative liaison for the department.