Education Department selects new vendor for end-of-year tests
BY KIM ARCHER World Staff Writer
Saturday, July 14, 2012
7/14/12 at 7:13 AM
After significant delays and data errors by state testing contractor Pearson last year, the state Education Department has selected CTB/McGraw-Hill as the new vendor for end-of-instruction tests.
"After the problems we had last year, we just informed Pearson that we would be going out to bid for the contract. They had an opportunity to bid, along with four others, but they weren't the winning bid this time," said Maridyth McBee, assistant state superintendent for accountability and assessments.
The first assessments under McGraw-Hill will begin the last week of November during the winter testing window, she said.
Late last summer, State Superintendent Janet Barresi sent a letter to every Oklahoma school superintendent to inform them that problems with Pearson's data were to blame for delays in getting test scores out to districts.
"I want to state categorically that this is unacceptable. They have the right to have accurate data. Teachers and principals must be able to plan for the new academic year based on data. Right now it is not possible to ensure the data is correct," Barresi told the Tulsa World then.
End-of-instruction exams are taken by every secondary student in Algebra I and II, English II and III, Biology I, geometry and U.S. history.
The department expects to have a new vendor for third- through eighth-grade testing by late fall, including benchmarks.
McBee said the department worked with the Oklahoma Department of Central Services to initiate the bidding process.
CTB/McGraw-Hill was selected because of its overall plan and inclusion of benchmark testing, along with having the second-lowest bid, she said.
"It was the overall best value. They gave us a good price. They weren't the lowest, but they were almost the lowest," she said. "They also had a very solid technical plan. And they included in their plan benchmark assessments for reading and math. It's not a part of accountability, but it's to help improve instruction."
Districts aren't required to use benchmark assessments, but many have purchased their own in the past as an instructional tool, McBee said.
Under CTB/McGraw-Hill, the benchmark assessments will be available to all Oklahoma school districts that wish to use them, she said.
Original Print Headline: State selects new vendor for exam assessments
Kim Archer 918-581-8315