Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

We Have Indiana's Contract With The Company That Provides ISTEP+ Online

Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

State superintendent Glenda Ritz makes a presentation to the State Board of Education.

State superintendent Glenda Ritz says she’s most concerned presently with making sure Indiana students complete their online ISTEP+ exams after server troubles grounded testing on Monday and Tuesday and slowed testing Wednesday.

But Ritz said Wednesday she will soon have to go through the state’s agreement with testing company CTB/McGraw Hill.

“Certainly we’re going to be looking at their contractual obligations regarding that,” Ritz said Wednesday. “I haven’t really delved into that yet.”

State Board of Education member Tony Walker went further during Wednesday’s meeting, suggesting the company had likely breached its contract.

We at StateImpact got our hands on a copy of the contract. We’ve posted it in full for you to read.

But in this post: What does the contract say about penalties the state can impose if it has problems with the testing services CTB provides?

First there are the fines:

The State [the Indiana Department of Education] shall be entitled to liquidated damages for the Contractor’s [CTB/McGraw Hill] failure to deliver… any of the following deliverables: Paper testing materials delivery; print reports delivery; “INORS” summary reports delivery;
“Parent Network” reports delivery; and “OAS” online testing delivery, which is defined as uninterrupted CTB system availability every school day from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time for the two weeks prior to each testing window and for the entire testing window

In the event of the Contractor’s failure, liquidated damages shall begin to accrue the calendar day of such failure of Contractor to perform. The state shall be entitled to liquidated damages for each deliverable listed above in the amount of $50,000 per day for each of the first five (5) calendar days of the Contractor’s failure to deliver, $150,000 per day for each of the next five (5) calendar days (days 6-10) and $250,000 per day for each calendar day thereafter until such time that the Contractor cures the failure to deliver.

Then there’s the nuclear option:

This Contract may be terminated, in whole or in part, by the State… whenever, for any reason, the State determines that such termination is in its interest. Termination of services shall be effected by delivery to the Contractor of a Termination Notice at least thirty (30) days prior to the termination effective date.

Again, we’ve posted the full contract for you to read. Leave us a comment if anything in the contract stands out to you. Check back for more reporting on what the document means.


  • Brian Bennett

    What really stands out is that CTB/McGraw Hill have failed to meet their contractual obligations every year since the contract was started. Yet, “glitches” are shrugged off and dismissed by state officials.

    This year, by asking schools to reduce their testing load by 50% is really an acknowledgement that they cannot provide the services agreed upon. It’s time to either ask for the penalty money or drop the contract.

  • Karynb9

    I’m a little concerned by the fact that Ritz and the DOE plan to meet with CTB/McGraw-Hill in order to discuss the failures and how they impact the validity of the test (per Ritz’s comments to the media). Do they really expect CTB to admit that the test results are invalid, thus pretty much guaranteeing that they have to pay penalties or have the entire contract revoked? I would like to see this situation reviewed by an independent panel of testing experts to determine whether or not these test scores are valid. Otherwise, the fox is guarding the hen house. Of course, I would also like to have seen this contract be overseen in previous years by someone who did NOT receive $6000 in campaign contributions from this company, but I guess it’s too late for that.

  • Jami Beckham

    As the head of a local parent organization many have begun to question the validity of this years test outcomes. It will be interesting to see how the IDOE and CTB/McGraw Hill handle parent concerns.

  • Erik Mosier

    What about when the Teacher’s Union says the results aren’t valid for their evalations?

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