Today Superintendent of Education Mike Flanagan announced that two companies were awarded contracts for administering the new standardized assessment for Michigan’s public schools, known as M-STEP. The companies are Data Recognition Corporation and Measurement Incorporated. The Michigan Department of Education and Department of Technology, Management and Budget awarded the contracts together. The three-year contract will cost the state $103.7 million.
The two companies are currently under contract for 2015 to administer M-STEP during testing this spring in the states’ public schools.
Mike Flanagan in a statement issued today stated that:
“This now allows Michigan schools and teachers to move forward and fully transition form the 40-year-old MEAP to M-STEP, a 21st Century assessment system.”
Data Recognition Corporation is based out of Minnesota. DRC, like other big testing corporations such as Pearson are well-known for hiring temporary employees to score high-stakes standardized tests that will determine a school district’s proficiency in reading, writing and mathematics. Often the requirements for the temporary job that pays $11 to $13 per hour is a bachelor’s degree, but not much else.
Measurement Incorporated is based out of North Carolina. They get mixed reviews from employees who are temporary hires, paid about $11 an hour and don’t get benefits or vacation time. Measurement Incorporated hires people to work remotely from home requiring them to have a high speed internet connection.
The Joint Evaluation Committee that made the decision to hire DRC and Measurement Inc. were presented with bids from five companies. The members of the JEC, made up of educators, parents, and staff from the MDE and DTMB. They spent hours looking over proposals and samples of assessments offered by each company before selecting an offer.
M-STEP, the standardized test used in Michigan this year and the next three years will be managed by two large out of state corporations who both have reputations for hiring temporary employees with no real background in education, and score the tests school districts rely on for funding and staying open. Teachers, professional educators who spend years in college to become experts in teaching practices and specialize in their subject areas are evaluated and rated on tests scored by temporary employees who’s only requirement is to have a bachelor’s degree in something and a high speed internet connection.
According to outgoing Superintendent Mike Flanagan, “This fortunate outcome will give this year’s tests greater significance and be a foundation from which to build.”
Looks like M-STEP is here to stay.