State seeks new student testing company

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development has formally begun the process of searching for a new standardized-testing company.

On Monday, the department issued a “request for information” from testing companies “that are interested in and can provide annual statewide assessments in English language arts, math, and science, beginning in spring 2017.”

Any interested companies have until Sept. 6 to submit responses.

The Alaska Measures of Progress exam, developed over several years and implemented in 2015, failed to provide the data administrators were expecting, and its computerized system wasn’t reliable. When a fiber-optic cable was severed outside the Kansas testing center this spring, it disrupted tests to the point that all of them had to be canceled.

Alaska tests public school students in English and math from third through 10th grades. It tests them in science in fourth, eighth and 10th grades.

The state has asked the federal government to waive standardized testing requirements for the 2015-2016 school year, and the Alaska Legislature passed legislation this year that removes a state requirement for such testing.

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