Texas fines testing vendor $5.7M, demands $15M in upgrades

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Texas is fining the company that administers statewide standardized tests $5.7 million – and ordering it to invest $15 million in future safeguards – after computer glitches caused problems for students and school districts last academic year.

Education Commissioner Mike Morath announced Tuesday that the $5.7 million fine against New Jersey-based Educational Testing Service would cover damages from issues with the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test.

The company must spend the rest improving things like its online enrollment and testing, and exam scoring.

Students must pass STAAR to advance to middle school and high school, and passing five standardized exams in core subjects is required to earn a high school diploma.

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Educational Testing Services won a 2015 contract worth $280 million to administer STAAR.