The Mississippi Board of Education voted to approve a $3.3 million statewide testing contract with Data Recognition Corp (DRC) for the 2018-19 school year to administer 5th and 8th-grade science assessments and the Biology I and U.S. History assessments for high school. The science tests are required by federal law.
DRC was selected from among five proposals submitted. DRC’s contract may be renewed annually up to five years based on the successful completion of the preceding year’s work.
The other vendors that submitted proposals were Measurement Incorporated, Measured Progress, Inc., Scantron Corporation, and Questar Assessment which the state has a 10-year contract with. Last year, Questar experienced a data breach and most recently there were several problems with the company not providing test results on time and a site crash during testing.
The Mississippi Department of Education solicited competitive written proposals in February for 5th and 8th-grade science assessments and Biology I and U.S. History assessments that are aligned to the new Mississippi College and Career Ready Standards (MCCRS) for Science and Social Studies.
New Science standards were approved in 2017 and piloted in school districts in the 2017-18 school year. New Social Studies Standards will be piloted in the 2018-19 school year. As such, the U.S. History test for 2018-19 will be a hybrid of the current test and field test items. The fully revised U.S. History test will be used starting in 2019-20.
MDE says academic standards are typically reviewed and updated every five to seven years.
“I appreciate the thoughtful process the evaluation team used to select the assessment vendor,” said Rosemary Aultman, chair of the Mississippi State Board of Education. “The goal of these assessments is to provide useful information about how well students are meeting the learning targets that Mississippi teachers have designed.”