DCAS contract with AIR ends June 30, 2014! Delaware state legislators in the dark

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New State Assessment Contract Awarded

A five-year contract has been awarded by the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) to the American Institutes for Research (AIR), located in Washington, D.C., to begin the immediate development and piloting of a new statewide assessment system for public school students in grades 2-10, known as the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS).

Beginning with the 2009-2010 school year, AIR will pilot:

  • online testing in reading and mathematics for grades 3-8,

  • end-of-course online testing for high school students in English language arts, mathematics and science,

  • online testing in science and social studies in selected grades, and

  • online benchmark testing in reading and mathematics in grades 2-10 to help teachers plan instruction according to the students’ needs and show student growth towards Delaware standards.

The DCAS will become fully operational for the 2010-2011 school year.  The total cost of the five year contract is $24.6 million effective until June 30, 2014. The DDOE reserves the right to extend the contract for as many as five additional one-year extensions if it is deemed to be in the best interest of the State of Delaware.

Because the state is obliged to continue school accountability in the present school year for federal No Child Left Behind legislation, the current DSTP assessment will continue to be administered in March 2010 in grades 2-10 for reading and mathematics and in May, 2010 in grades 8 and 11 for science and social studies.

ALL FOR NOTHING! 24.6 million dollars DOWN THE DRAIN! Also down the drain the growth model state assessment we all agreed was important and the right direction away from the one test tells all DSTP. So right when we get all the bugs worked out DCAS in comes The Smarter Balanced Assessment with many more bugs!

With the AIR contract expiring Delaware is stuck with the Smarter Balanced Assessment because the the “DEAL” has been cut! However, the Smarter Balanced Assessment is not aligned with state law and the intent of House Bill #334 was to make it legal.

At the end of the day we must question the legislative process that enacts one law on student assessment and allows the governor and DE DOE to move full steam ahead spending more money implementing pilot test for a new assessment test that ins’t aligned with provisions of state law. Don’t you think such conversation should take place first so that the state legislators can see and the cards, cost and impact?

The taxpayers invest 24.6 million dollars in the AIR contract and million more in loss in productive of educator and state official time during collaborating and development. Also, students and parents were put through great stress adapting to new standards and demands of a new assessment test! So, now it’s here we go again students and parents! 

Our children are getting to be nothing but lab rats in the race to Wall Street profits. H.B#334 has been table but you can bet the farm Delaware legislators will amend the law making The Smarter Balanced Assessment legal. But we’ll be watching and expose all! 

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