Disability & Accessibility
Mississippi Adopts Questar To Deliver Exams for Students with Cognitive Impairments
- By Dian Schaffhauser
The state of Mississippi has decided to go with the same assessment vendor it uses for its statewide assessments to do summative testing of students with severe cognitive disabilities as well. Questar Assessment, which won a $13.3 million contract from the state last spring to deliver Mississippi Assessment Program (MAP) exams for English language arts and mathematics, received approval from the state's Board of Education on the additional contract. The MAP exams are based on the Mississippi College and Career-Ready Standards (MCCRS).
The new agreement was approved in August with a September start date and will run for 10 years with renewal determined annually. The English and math assessments will be given to students in grades 3-8; science in grades 5 and 8; and high school Algebra I, English II and biology.
Questar noted in a press release that it has already provided summative assessment services to 33 states and the District of Columbia, and is responsible for test administrations of millions of students annually. Mississippi is the 34th state to which Questar will provide assessment services.
Previously, Mississippi was a member of the PARCC consortium, but it withdrew its support for that set of assessments, in January. The state continues to be a member of Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM), a similar assessment project that offers a way for students with significant cognitive disabilities to demonstrate their learning throughout the year. DLM assessments are intended for those who may also have hearing or visual disabilities, and/or neuromuscular, orthopedic or other motor disabilities. They allow for the use of common assistive technologies in addition to keyboard and mouse and touch-screen technology.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.