Yesterday Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart announced that Florida would be working with the American Institutes for Research to replace the FCAT. Florida had pulled out of PARCC as the fiscal agent, and there was discussion in the state of still implementing the assessment in Florida.
Instead they chose AIR.
I did a quick search and found…
That the American Institutes of Research was contracted by Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium “develop an open source solution for delivering the Consortium’s online, computer adaptive summative and interim assessments to students.” AIR announced they “will make available an open-source testing platform to enable all states and others to deliver cutting edge tests.” They ran the initial pilot of Smarter Balanced Assessments in 25 states.
They also had a staff member, Steven Leinwand, who is a Principal Research Analyst, work as a part of the PARCC content technical work group for mathematics.
So basically a group that has been highly involved with the development of Smarter Balanced is the winner of a $220 million dollar contract from Florida.
Floridians were promised to receive a product less expensive than PARCC and the current FCAT.