Walsh, Minority Colleagues Call for Hearings to Correct State Testing System

Editor’s Note: Letter attached.

Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C,I-Ballston) joined her colleagues in calling on the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education to convene a hearing regarding the botched State testing that occurred last week.

This is the second consecutive year Questar Assessment, Inc., the State’s testing vendor, has seen significant issues with its software during state exams.

“It is alarming and unacceptable that Questar’s software has proven itself to be faulty for a second consecutive year. These missteps mean we need to delve deeper into their company and evaluate their contract with New York State,” said Walsh, the Ranking Minority Member on the Assembly Education Committee.

Walsh and her colleagues on the Assembly Education Committee believe that the continued failures warrant a public discussion with representatives from Questar, the State Education Department and other stakeholders who may have a greater insight to how we can ensure these programs are secure and dependable.

“The state paid Questar $44 million to provide online-testing. They need to get the job done. Our students and educators have spent countless hours preparing for these state exams, and they should not be burdened with any additional stress from unforeseeable system malfunctions. It is imperative that my colleagues, State Education Department officials and other stakeholders get the answers parents and students deserve.”

“This is about oversight. Questar was paid $44 million to get this right,” said Assemblyman Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square). “They need to be accountable to our students, and they need to be accountable to taxpayers across the state. It’s bad enough that we’re still so focused on needlessly stressful, high-stakes exams. For kids to have to deal with the added anxiety of seeing their progress on the test disappear and need to start over is completely unacceptable. Questar is under contract with the state until next year. Do we still believe they’ll deliver what they say they will? They have a lot of explaining to do, and we believe that they should have to testify in front of the entire Assembly Committee on Education.”