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Louisiana Testing Contracts: Data Recognition Corp (DRC), 2015 – 2025

April 24, 2022

This post includes Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) testing contracts and contract amendments for the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) and the testing company, Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), from 2015 to 2025. The purpose of this post is to make these documents easily available for public viewing.

It is possible that there are more amendments extending beyond the 2021-2022 school year; I did not specifically ask for such amendments in my records request to LDOE.

Including all pricing adjustments referenced in this post, the total cost of the LDOE-DRC contract for 2015 – 2022 is just shy of $60M. That’s an average of $8.6M per year, and this is only for DRC contracts. ACT testing adds another $3M – $3.5M per year, and as of this writing, I have not finished posting all of the most current (as in 2020 – 2022) testing contracts between LDOE and other testing companies.

And now, to the documents included in this post.

First is the 2015 -16 LDOE-DRC contract. (Note that some attachments are duplicated). Cost of 2015 -16 LEAP assessment, ELA and math, grades 3 – 8: $3.2M. I wrote about this contract in May 2018, when then-superintendent John White was indirectly using PARCC items; PARCC testing and Common Core had become tainted, controversial ideas to the public. Indeed, as I wrote in February 2016, LDOE never had a direct contract with Pearson for PARCC tests. Ever focused at keeping the truth at arm’s length from public view, White used DRC as the go-between for LDOE and PARCC. (Attachment B limits the use of PARCC items to “not more than forty-nine and nine-tenths of the questions included in the selected assessments….” This was in accordance with the legislative game at the time to portray the tests as “mostly” not PARCC.)

The second LDOE-DRC Contract is from October 2016 to June 2021 (five years) and is worth $61.5K (later amended to $51.7K; see Amednment 5 below). Tests include LEAP reading and math formative assessments for grades K – 2; practice tests and interim and summative assessments English language arts (ELA) and math (grades 3 – 8) and high school End of Course (EOC) tests in English I, II, Algebra I and geometry; EOC English III item development.

Note that “item acquisition” (from PARCC) is included in the costs and is $1.6M across five years (add another $230K for copyright registration and copyright support staff). Note also that released test items are newly developed by DRC and are not the copyrighted “acquired” items. Attachment C of contract includes “proposed solutions” for acquiring test items given that LDOE had no direct contract in 2016 with PARCC vendor. Pearson, and left it to DRC to “acquire” test content. The language is even more cryptic regarding the K-2 formative assessments: “Access to content through external source for years 1 and 2….” It gets even more interesting in the “detailed descriptions” section of Attachment C:

The K – 2 Formative Tasks will be accessed via a single-sign on from eDIRECT to the PARCC Resource Center to access k – 2 formative tasks and resources. These tasks will be aligned to Louisiana State Standards and branded appropriately. Branding includes, replacement of text, graphics, etc. with Louisiana approved logos and page designs approved by LDOE.

DRC will coordinate permissions, if required, with PARCC.

So. The content belongs to PARCC, and is PARCC, which is assessment companion to Common Core, but let’s not call it Common Core or PARCC; let’s change the Common Core name to “Louisiana State Standards” and “brand” Common Core assessment tasks, PARCC tasks, as such.

Amendement 1 to above contract removes the clause about “annually” releasing 10 – 15 items for each grade and course (“Part B”) and instead making released test items a one-time issue (“Part A”).

Amendment 2 concerns the falling apart of the “PARCC test” effort; the PARCC Consortium had shifted (become?) PARCC, Inc., which by 2017 had changed hands, with PARCC items now being sold to New Meridian and, apparently, CenterPoint.

Amendment 3 concerns minor modifications in interim test delivery as well as dropping language about interim assessments being held to the standard of “predicting” summative assessment outcomes– a seeming, tacit admission that LDOE and/or DRC did not want to be held liable by having entangled themselves in some VAM-like situation.

The major issue in Amendment 4 is reducing the maximum 2016-2021 LDOE-DRC contract amount from $61.5M to $51.7M. This change was made in February 2020. John White, who was by then headed out the door, was not there to sign for himself.

Amendment 5 extends the 2016-2021 LDOE-DRC contract to June 30, 2025. The amendment is dated December 09, 2020, and includes no modified fee schedule. (See Amendment 6).

The final amendment included in this post is Amendment 6, signed by superintendent Cade Brumley on February 24, 2022, and which offers details for extending the LDOE-DRC contract set to expire in June 2021 for only a single school year, 2021-2022. The cost of this single-year is an additional $1M (bringing the updated, adjusted total to $52.7M for 2016 – 2022) and includes the following cost justification:

(Justification for amendment increase or extension.)

This amendment is required due to K-2 Formatives having been descoped from the contract. It also confirms and updates FY21 th billing schedule from $11,869,655 in 2019 (Amendment 4) to $6,344,097 in 2020 and funds FY22 in the amount of $6,361, 220 (Amendment 6). This is an increase of $1,015,652.00 to the total contract.

Amendment 6 also includes “Attachment A: Deliverables,” which details for what is covered in the 2021-22 total cost of $6.4M.

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3 Comments
  1. Kathy Edmonston Gmail permalink

    Mercedes

    Hope you’re doing well. Just wondered if you could somehow give me a synopsis of your take on your article and the assessment contracts for the years that you’ve mentioned? If you have an opportunity give me a call sometime !

    Kathy

    Rep. Kathy Edmonston La. House. Dist. 88 225-328-5832 c

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Is DRC an independent company or a subsidiary of another? The connections between the various vendors are amazing. In Florida, we use Cambium Assessment (formerly a part of American Institute of Research) for computer testing, but all the materials such as manuals, work folders, and paper-based tests come from DRC. When the results are released, it is a Pearson website that we access. That is true of the ACT test as well. They use the Pearson website. Further, for College Board testing, when we send the answer sheets via UPS Air for scoring, the label says we are sending them to Pearson.

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