State seeks AMP replacement

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Sunday, August 28, 2016 9:36pm
  • News

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development is looking for a new vendor that will replace the Alaska Measures of Progress and Alaska Alternative assessments for grades 3-10 in the 2017 round of spring testing.

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent Sean Dusek said he supports the search, but administrators have some standards they would like the new contract holder to be able to address.

“First, timely and appropriate information from the assessments that can help promote student learning growth and the ability to conduct the assessment electronically to support timely results,” he said. “…The concern is that the vendor will not be able to provide timely and appropriate information to help make instructional decisions for student learning growth.”

Former Department of Education Commissioner Mike Hanley made the decision to throw out the AMP test in January after a foray of fierce concerns from staff and administrators that followed delayed and subpar results data in the fall of 2015. Then, the second and final round was cancelled this spring after technical difficulties that cut students off mid-test and deleted data persisted during the first week of testing.

Dusek said the replacement process has the potential to go more smoothly if a vendor is chosen that could use an assessment school districts are already familiar with.

“If the vendor has to develop a brand new assessment from scratch, we would have a difficult time preparing staff and becoming ready for implementation this year,” he said.”

Tim Vlasak, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Director of K-12 Schools, has provided input to the state at every possible opportunity. He would like to see the next test include an online format, and one that can be used directly to improve student performance throughout the school year. He said digital assessments offer better timeliness of data return.

Margaret MacKinnon, the Department of Education’s Director of Assessment and Accountability, said at this point it is likely the new test will be off-the-shelf. There is not enough time between now and next spring for a company to develop a completely new assessment based on Alaska’s standards, she said.

“There might be some options to add some things or maybe evolve over time if we find a vendor we can work with, or do some customization, or flexibilities,” MacKinnon said.

Roughly $4.5 million is available for this year’s contract.

Part of the Request for Information, which is the process the state is utilizing to look for a new vendor, is to see who might be able to work within that budget, MacKinnon said.

Depending on how many and who returns the request, there may or may not be an opportunity for the public to comment on the chosen vendors, she said.

“The current request for information put out by DEED (the Department of Education) will provide a snapshot of options available to the state,” Dusek said. “This will inform the state on what the next steps will determine next steps for the State to identify a new vendor that can meet Alaska’s unique needs.”

MacKinnon said the Alaska would be looking to other states that have had to implement new tests on a similar timeline.

“I am hopeful,” she said. “I think it is doable.”

Vendors have until Sept. 6 to respond to the state’s request. Potential assessments must be able to show how well students meet state standards, provide data for school improvement efforts and ensure equity for all students.

Reach Kelly Sullivan at

More in News

Mount Redoubt can be seen acoss Cook Inlet from North Kenai Beach on Thursday, July 2, 2022. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Offshore oil plan envisions a single Cook Inlet sale

The proposed 2023-2028 plan is similar to the just-ended Obama administration five-year plan

People line the streets in downtown Kenai, Alaska on Monday, July 4, 2022 for the annual Independence Day parade. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Red, white and blue all day

Kenai turns out for parade, activities to celebrate Independence Day

A podium marks the beginning of a StoryWalk at Soldotna Creek Park on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
StoryWalk is back after vandalism

The installation was discontinued last September after someone damaged the poles and podium plexiglass

Shawn Dick of Talkneetna carries a fresh catch out of the water while dipnetting on the Kenai Beach on July 10, 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Kenai River dipnetting opens this month

The Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery opens July 10

The sun is seen shining above the Kenai River in Soldotna, Alaska, on July 14, 2020. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clario file)
When the temperature hits 70, Alaskans feel the heat — and start suffering health ills

Acclimatization, the angle of the sun at high latitudes and other factors make summer heat more intense in Alaska

A map shows active fires around the state of Alaska on Friday, July 1, 2022. (Screenshot from Alaska Wildland Fire Information Map)
Fire danger prompts restrictions on burning, fireworks

There were 160 fires in Alaska as of Thursday, and of those 17 were staffed with fire personnel

Jessica Cook, left, and Les Gara are photographed in The Peninsula Clarion’s offices Thursday in Kenai. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Gara, Cook campaign on the Kenai Peninsula

The pair cited education funding, reproductive rights and election security as priorities

A map shows the Seward Highway MP 17-22.5 Rehabilitation Project area. The Seward Highway between Mileposts 17 and 22.5 — from about Primrose Campground to near Teddy’s Inn The Woods — will be closed from 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesday starting July 18, 2022. (Screenshot)
Roadwork in Moose Pass to shut parts of Seward Highway

The Seward Highway between Mileposts 17 and 22.5 will be closed from 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesday starting July 18

Most Read