MDE Releases Request for Proposals for the 2015-16 Statewide Assessments

MDE Releases Request for Proposals for the 2015-16 Statewide Assessments
Mississippi Department of Education logo. Photo source MDE

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is press release from the Mississippi Department of Education 

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) through the Office of Student Assessment is now soliciting competitive written proposals from qualified vendors for administering statewide assessments for the 2015-16 school year.

The request for proposals (RFP) are for the English Language Arts and Mathematics Grades 3 – 8 assessments, end of course assessments in Algebra I and English II, and an optional Geometry and/or Algebra II assessment that are completely aligned to the state's adoption of the 2014 Mississippi College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics. MDE's primary goal with respect to test design is ensuring that the assessments measure student mastery of the Mississippi standards, and accomplishes this in the most cost-effective way.

"The State Board of Education and I are committed to an open and transparent process for selecting our new statewide assessments. Mississippi educators will assist in evaluating submitted proposals as well as an outside technical advisory committee," said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education.

MDE requires that the test administration not be longer than the amount of time currently spent for testing in the state, and that tests for each of the components be ready for use in the 2015-16 school year. The RFP outlines several requirements and uses for the new assessments, including the following:

The tests will include a variety of item types, including multiple choice, constructed response, writing, technology enhanced, and performance tasks.The 3rd Grade ELA Assessment will be used for promotion/retention decisions according to current state law.Online testing is necessary for the fall of 2015, although some students that require accommodations may require paper and pencil versions."I have often stated that my only interest in this RFP is that the assessment must be aligned to the standards that our school districts use to guide their curriculum development and our teachers use to guide their instruction," Wright said.

The CCR Standards in ELA and Mathematics provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to know and be able to do by the end of each grade level or course. The standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit-bearing entry courses in two- or four-year college programs, without remediation, or enter the workforce.

MDE plans to present the selected proposal to the Board at its monthly meeting in April. Additional information about the RFP can be found here.