CTB/McGraw-Hill to design new standardized test in Georgia

CTB/McGraw-Hill is in line to develop the new standardized test that will be offered to Georgia students this coming school year, according to documents released by the state today.

The company — which crafted the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test Georgia is moving away from — is close to receiving a $107.8-million, five-year contract to develop the CRCT’s successor, the Georgia Measures of Academic Progress.

Georgia’s Department of Administrative Services, the state’s procurement agency, released its ‘notice of intent to award’ today, which named CTB/McGraw-Hill as the top bidder for the testing contract.

Data Recognition Corporation and NCS Pearson, Inc. also submitted bids to develop the test, but the state Board of Education chose CTB/McGraw-Hill.

The state and CTB/McGraw-Hill can’t technically enter into a contract until May 27, the end of a 10-day window during which unsuccessful bidders can file a protest.

State education officials are not permitted to discuss the contract or explain why CTB/McGraw-Hill was chosen until after that protest period.

They have spoken in general terms about the new test, which they have said will be very different than the CRCT.

Unlike the multiple-choice CRCT, the new test will have more open-ended questions, which will have to be graded by people. And while 35 percent of the CRCT was administered online last year, state education officials expect the new test to be an entirely online affair in five years.

The new test will be more difficult, and the state is increasing the number of questions students must answer correctly to get what is considered a passing score.

In 2011, when the state applied for a waiver from the No Child Left Behind federal education law, Georgia agreed to administer a new standardized test and to raise the bar students had to clear to pass it.

State education officials say the low bar students cleared to pass the CRCT gave parents and educators a false impression of academic progress.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.