Wisconsin is one step closer to implementing its third statewide student assessment in three years for students in grades 3 through 8 with the announcement today that a new test vendor has been selected through a competitive process.
The new Wisconsin Forward Exam from Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), a Minnesota-based testing company with a Wisconsin office, is expected to be shorter and less costly than the Badger Exam that students took this spring for the first and last time. It will be administered online and, according to DPI, Wisconsin educators will be involved in test item development and review over the course of the contract.
Contingent on successful contract negotiations, state students will take the Wisconsin Forward Exam in spring 2016. The exam will test students in English language arts and mathematics in grades three through eight and science in grades four, eight, and 10. High school students in grades nine through 11 will continue to take the ACT assessments.
While the new Forward test is Web-based, it will not be able to adapt the difficulty of test questions to a student’s abilities, a feature the Badger Exam was supposed to have but which wasn’t implemented because of technical difficulties. The new test will be designed to be a Wisconsin-specific test aligned to Wisconsin Academic Standards.
DRC was successful in a Request for Proposals (RFP) procurement process conducted by the Department of Administration for the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) but winning the RFP does not constitute a contractual commitment between Wisconsin and DRC.
The recently passed 2015-17 state budget abandoned the Badger Exam after it ended up costing the state millions more than expected and didn’t work as expected.