Where did DCAS come from? Part 3: Proposals, and more Proposals
See Part 2 here.
After three years of piloting MAP, one piece of legislation, and months of task force work, the Request for Proposals for the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS) was finally written and released in early March, 2009. March also brought the introduction of another piece of legislation targeting the state assessment system, this time at the behest of Governor Markell. SB #68HCR #32 about what the new test needed to do, though most of its language was already included in the RFP. was more specific than
The RFP allowed companies to bid on the creation of all or just part of the new assessment system. A number of companies submitted proposals, including the Northwest Evaluation Association(NWEA)– makers of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test, the American Institutes for Research (AIR), and three other vendors. The proposal review process included demonstrations of the test platform and questions to teachers, a technical review of the test components by DOE, and a review of the costs and technology needed to implement the computer based test. During the RFP review, the DOE made a change to the RFP that created some potential problems for one of the top vendors, AIR. The change required that the vendor submit a proposal for the whole system rather than for just some of the components, as it was more cost effective for the state. With this new change, NWEA was the top scoring proposal and the state began negotiating a contract with them.
Then the lawsuits came. The change in the RFP prompted AIR to file a lawsuit with the Delaware Court of Chancery claiming that the RFP change was unfair to other vendors and NWEA was given an advantage even though they were not the top score based on the original RFP criteria. NWEA also threatened to file a lawsuit because Delaware’s requirements for a required performance bond were inconsistently communicated through the bidding process. With lawsuits looming, the Department of Education acted quickly and decided to void the existing RFP and start the process anew. Both suits were dropped immediately.
So, in September 2009, the DOE released the second RFP. This version fixed the flaws in the first version and incorporated additional requirements from SB #68, which had been signed into law in August. AIR and NWEA both submitted proposals for the second RFP, but with the new criteria, AIR came out as the top score and was awarded the DCAS Contract in December 2009.
Next Week… The Plan, The Pilot, and The Roll-out