WestEd, a San Francisco based company, was selected as the vendor for the future Next Generation Science Standards state assessment. The contract runs through December 31st, 2017 but it will assuredly get an extension based on the scope of work involved and the timetable for the full release of the new Science state assessment. The amount awarded for the contract is $673,658. Only two bidders sent proposals to the Delaware Department of Education, WestEd and American Institutes for Research (AIR). AIR is the current vendor for the Smarter Balanced Assessment in Delaware.
The plan is to have the field tests for this assessment in the 2017-2018 school year and then all public school students in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade get to take it in the 2018-2019 school year. All states are required to administer Science state assessments to students in these grades and it will be the same for the Every Student Succeeds Act. Currently, Delaware students take the Science DCAS Assessment.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were created by Achieve Inc. and 26 states. It rolled out in 2013 but only five states signed up to implement them. As of today, there are only 18 states that have adopted the sometimes controversial science standards. NGSS is very big on terminology surrounding three dimensions: science & engineering, disciplinary core ideas, and cross-cutting concepts. Okay. How do you accurately explain that? I have an idea! They should use rope to do it! Oh wait, someone beat me to it…
I wrote about WestEd a month and a half ago when I saw they were one of the bidders for this contract:
WestEd, though, is no stranger to Delaware. This is a company that thinks online digital learning games with Curious George are just great for preschool. They also have an extensive list of clients with some very familiar names. Ironically, the Delaware DOE hired facilitators from WestEd for their Every Student Succeeds Act Community Conversations, along with Research In Action. They even went into a partnership recently with NewSchools Venture Fund to expand small business data technology companies in K-12 classrooms.
Lately, whenever I see a corporate education reform company, I check out how much money they have received from the Gates Foundation. WestEd has received $24,164,909 over the past ten plus years. That is no small chunk of change! You can read the full contract below: