The Delaware Dept. of Education put out a request for proposal for their Social Studies and Science state assessments. For Social Studies, the bidding ended on 9/9 and for Science, 9/23. This is the second time the Delaware DOE put out requests for these two tests and some of the same companies bid again. I went into detail about some of those companies last December. The last time both the state assessments were included in one big lump. This time, they separated them. I had a lot to say about the Social Studies request for proposal last month and how this could lead to embedded stealth testing in a constant online competency-based personalized learning environment.
Delaware System of Student Assessment in Social Studies
Next Generation Science Assessment for Delaware Learners
The new bidders for these assessments are Measured Progress Inc. and WestEd. Measured Progress is just more of the same according to Save Maine Schools. They were the Smarter Balanced vendor in three states last year, but they couldn’t even handle the data capacity and had to shut down testing. 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. How ironic that they received grant money from the Small Business Administration to fund ed tech start-ups while they are bidding for contracts that would measure the effectiveness of ed tech instruction with state assessments. No conflict of interest there! Strategic Measurement still has the same website as last year. Both AIR and Pearson are still the lead players in the high-stakes testing arena. None of these bidders signal Delaware ending the high-stakes testing arena any time soon.
The Delaware DOE is getting ready to pick a vendor for their
high-stakes rigorous grit-worthy state assessments for Science and Social Studies. Some of these were the companies I expected to see and some I never heard of before in my life! This is the world of corporate education reform. Every time you think you have a good handle of what companies are out there, a few more rise to the surface. All bids were due to the Delaware Department of Education by November 30th. The DOE is giving an estimated date of 12/18 for the recipient of the contract to be announced.
So let’s start with the obvious suspects: American Institutes for Research (AIR) and Pearson. AIR is the vendor of choice for the DOE on the Smarter Balanced Assessment. They were also the vendor for DCAS. They also implemented state assessments in Florida and Utah that did not go over well with the public. Pearson, the father of the PARCC assessment, is taking a huge hit after their bungled test.
Strategic Measurement & Evaluation Inc. comes from Lafayette, IN. Coincidentally, they have as one of their clients the Indiana Department of Education, along with the Michigan counterpart. But what is really fascinating is the testimonial section of their website. There are only two names on there. One is John King, the upcoming US Secretary of Education. It turns out he used this company when he ran schools in New York City. Another woman worked in NYC around the same time. She was the Vice-President of School Supports for the NYC Charter School Center. We in Delaware know this woman by her current title, Chief Executive Officer of the Community Education Building in Wilmington, none other than Aretha Miller. Yes, I noticed their website address is “escoreny” as well. Turns out they have a revamped website coming soon called “smeasurement.com”.
The other company, MetriTech is something of a mystery. Not for the obvious reason. If you go to their website, you better bring a magnifying glass or zoom to 150% or greater. Not that I’m impressed with any of these companies, but at least have a good website! Their list of clients includes Chicago Public schools and a couple state DOEs, but in looking at their product, it seems geared towards ELL students. But they are based out of Champaign, IL. So maybe they have some political connections or something.
So who will win the big contract? If I had to guess, I would go with Strategic Measurement and Evaluation. Pearson and AIR are becoming toxic names associated with the Smarter Balanced Assessment and PARCC. MetriTech looks like they need financing to get a good website going. But then again, SME has an old website. Who knows! I’m sure whoever it is, kids will hate it, teachers will prep students for it, and parents will want to opt their kids out of it!