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Despite major problems, educators say the results of the RISE assessment test are accurate

(Photo: Paul Nelson, file)

SALT LAKE CITY – It was a massive headache for students all across Utah.  There were glitches and delays in the RISE test, but, the results are back and state officials are hoping to convince parents that the results are accurate.

Officials from the Utah Board of Education expect there will be many parents who will wonder how they can trust the results of that test.  Educators say they combed over the data in several ways.

Assistant Superintendent of Student Learning Darin Nielsen says, “We engaged in three very specific analyses that occurred over the summer.”

One of the first things they looked at was whether or not the delays in the tests had a big negative impact on the students’ performance.  According to their analysts, it didn’t.  How is that possible?

Nielsen says, “This test, the RISE test, whether it’s grades three through eight or whichever content you’re in, is not a timed test and it’s designed to be taken over multiple days.”

They also looked at long-term data about student growth, plus they invited experts from school districts to look at student achievement.  All three of those analyses reportedly show the results appear to be in line with what they normally see, and there weren’t any red flags indicating the results were significantly flawed.

Nielsen says this exam is not the only way a parent can track how well their child performs at school.

“This year is no different than any other year.  There are other things that help us determine the quality of a school and achievement and growth,” he adds.

Officials say the problems they faced were not from the test, itself, but from the company that distributed it, Questar.  Nielsen says there were server problems and thousands of students saw error messages when they tried to submit their answers.  The state will submit the RISE test again, but, they’ve terminated their contract with Questar.

“We’ve got a short-term contract in place with AIR, our previous vendor,” Nielsen says.