The Board of Examiners on Tuesday approved a $51.5 million contract with CTB/McGraw-Hill to conduct statewide student proficiency testing.
The contract was awarded after the Common Core assessments debacle halted the mandatory online exams earlier this year.
Deputy Superintendent of Education Steve Canavero said McGraw-Hill will provide a completely electronic, state of the art system designed to enable students in every Nevada school to complete testing and assessment requirements.
Under Nevada law, students in grades 3-8 must be tested in English Language Acquisition and math. Those in grades 5-8 and grade 10 must tested in science.
It will also manage the end of course examinations in those subjects as well as the high school proficiency exam retests for grade 12 and adult education programs.
Gov. Brian Sandoval asked for assurances the contract has adequate protections for the state if McGraw-Hill fails to deliver.
He referenced the failure more than a year ago of the Xerox contract to develop the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange that resulted in cancellation of that contract.
Canavero said the contract specifies up to 100 percent liability for breach of contract and unlimited liability if there is a security breach that lets student personal information leak out.
Doug Russell and other McGraw-Hill officials assured the governor they have developed programs in 21 different states, all successfully, and they will fulfill the Nevada contract as well. As for security, Russell said the company uses the same precautions it does in handling other contracts including with the Department of Defense.
Canavero pointed out Clark and Washoe County school districts and the state’s Charter School Authority are already using the company’s system. There’s also a commitment to reach out to every school in the state — even the most rural campuses.
The contract runs through August 2019 when it would have to either be renewed or again put out to bid.
In addition, the board approved spending $3.5 million with Infinite Campus to install the statewide version of the company’s student information management system. The board was told that system provides statewide, real time electronic access to student records while keeping the data secure.