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Michigan Awards Future Assessment System for Spring 2016 and Beyond

March 26, 2015

LANSING – Michigan has awarded a three-year contract to both Data Recognition Corporation and Measurement, Inc. for the future Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) system beginning with the 2015-2016 school year.  The recommendation of award was made jointly by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), and Department of Technology, Management, and Budget (DTMB), which runs the state procurement process.

“Data Recognition Corporation and Measurement, Inc. were the two highest scoring bidders and are among the most experienced education service and test administration providers in the nation,” said State Superintendent Mike Flanagan.  “This now allows Michigan schools and teachers to move forward and fully transition from the 40-year-old MEAP to M-STEP, a 21st Century assessment system.”

Data Recognition Corp. and Measurement, Inc. are the same vendors that are being used for the 2015 M-STEP statewide assessment, providing a seamless transition to the statewide assessments for the foreseeable future.

“This fortunate outcome will give this year’s tests greater significance and be a foundation from which to build,” Flanagan said. 

A total of five bids were submitted and reviewed to provide assessment administration, scoring, and reporting by an 18-member Joint Evaluation Committee (JEC).

In addition to staff from MDE and DTMB, committee voting members included representatives from the education community, including an elementary/middle school principal; local school superintendent; testing and assessment consultant from an intermediate school district (ISD); and an ISD curriculum and data expert.  In addition, JEC advisory members included a high school principal, special education expert, an English Language Learner expert and both English language arts and mathematics experts. 

Vendor proposals for Michigan’s assessment system could have included: an “off-the-shelf” assessment; a vendor’s proprietary assessment; other existing assessment, such as those owned by another state or non-vendor entity; or consortia-developed assessment for one or more components. The independent solutions proposed by both DRC and Measurement, Inc. included Michigan-developed and consortia-developed assessment components that are aligned to the state standards. The awarded proposals meet all of the requirements put forth in Public Act 196 of 2014.

After soliciting and receiving public input last summer, the Request For Proposal (RFP) was posted on the State’s bid posting website,, on August 29, 2014, and was available to prospective bidders for 42 days. The award of a State Contract is made to the responsive and responsible Bidder who passed Technical Evaluations and offers the best value to the State of Michigan.

The JEC determined two bidders passed the technical evaluation portion of the evaluation process: Data Recognition Corporation and Measurement, Inc. As allowed under DTMB procurement rules, the committee unanimously determined that awarding selected contract activities to Data Recognition Corp. and other selected contract activities to Measurement, Inc. utilizes the best of what each compliant bidder proposed and offers the best value to the State of Michigan. The JEC unanimously recommended awarding one contract each, based on selected contract activities to Data Recognition Corp. and Measurement, Inc. 

“As an elementary principal, I work daily to remain current and informed regarding teaching, learning, and assessment,” said JEC member David G. Hornak, Ed.D, principal at Holt Public Schools’ Horizon Elementary. “As I reflect on my service to the Joint Evaluation Committee to help award the next assessment vendors, it is worth promoting that each award was met with hours of deliberation.  Not only did we discuss each proposal in detail, our time together allowed for each member of the committee to seek clarity. 

“With the children in Michigan in mind, I am pleased with our work and remain thrilled with my opportunity to serve on the selection committee,” Hornak said.  “I am proud of our recommendations.”

Advisory member of the JEC and Muskegon ISD English language arts expert Erin Brown said: “The professionalism and completeness of the RFP process were reassuring.  As both an educator and parent of elementary age children in our state, it was confidence-building to know that the 18 members of this team engaged in a rigorous process of evaluation for each proposal.  This process assured equability and objective analysis of each proposal against the established criteria of the RFP.”

Although the contracts await final completion and approval of the State Administrative Board, the three-year contract for Michigan’s future assessment system will cost approximately $103.7 million.  The contract also includes five one-year extension options for (2018-2019), (2019-2020), (2020-2021), (2021-2022), and (2022-2023), each at the state’s discretion.

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