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Q and A for the HSET Request for Information

Questions and Answers for the High School Equivalency Test Request for Information.
1. Please clarify any requirements or expectations around an on-demand writing assessment. Is this specific to computer-based versions of the test only?

The California Department of Education (CDE) is seeking specific information about the format, content, and future improvement of the proposed high school equivalency test, including whether the test is available in a paper-based format, a computer-based format, or both.  Included in the information the State Board of Education (SBE) will need to know is whether or not the test, in either format, tests English–language arts (ELA)/reading and writing, which includes an on-demand writing assessment.

2. Please clarify the purpose of the administrative funding. Does this funding go toward activities that CDE may contract separately, such as registration, transcript reporting, and diplomas?

The California Education Code, as set forth below, permits the SBE to establish a fee of up to $20.00 per test taker to cover the CDE’s cost of administering the statutory requirements of the GED, which fee is to be collected and forwarded to the CDE by the scoring contractor. The SBE has set the fee at $20.00 pursuant to Title 5, California Code of Regulations, Section 11530(e).  Separate and apart from collecting and forwarding this fee, the CDE will require information from potential vendors as to how their test is best administered, including what services they can provide that are ancillary to the provision of the equivalency test, services such as the test registration process, the selection and certification of testing centers, the administration of the test by the testing centers, the security provisions and measures required to ensure valid and accurate results, the scoring of the test, and the processing and issuance of high school equivalency certificates.

California Education Code states:

51421(a)  The superintendent may charge a one-time only fee, established by the State Board of Education, to be submitted by an examinee when registering for the test sufficient in an amount not greater than the amount required to pay the cost of administering this article and for the cost of providing all follow-up services related to the completion of the general educational development test. The amount of each fee may not exceed twenty dollars ($20) per person.

51422.  Each scoring contractor shall provide the Superintendent of Public Instruction with a set of results for each examinee who has taken all or a portion of the general educational development test. Each scoring contractor shall forward to the superintendent the fee established pursuant to Section 51421 for each examinee who has taken the general educational development test.

3. Please clarify the total number of test centers expected for 2014.

The only expectation stated in the Request for Information (RFI) is that the CDE would expect that the test would be offered at various locales throughout the state. The RFI lists on page 10 in Section 3: Testing Center Administration the information that the CDE needs to know from a potential vendor administering the high school equivalency test.

4. Regarding the Introduction, page 3, second paragraph, it is our understanding that respondents whose tests are approved by the State Board of Education (SBE), and who complete successful negotiations with the CDE, will be offered a contract with the CDE to offer their high school equivalency test in California. While the information required from respondents by the RFI is clear, there are no evaluation criteria or weightings outlined in the RFI that would indicate to respondents the importance of each of the criteria on which the SBE and CDE will evaluate proposals. Would SBE and CDE be able to share the proposal evaluation criteria and any importance weightings applied to them with respondents prior to the submission of proposals?

The intended purpose of the RFI is to gather sufficient information for the SBE to approve one or more high school equivalency tests. The process does not involve the use of evaluation criteria or weightings typically used in the Request for Proposal process.  Instead, the information gathered through this process will educate the SBE about the unique features and qualities about a particular high school equivalency test in order for the SBE to decide whether to approve the test. This information-gathering process allows the CDE to have a follow-up period where the CDE can go back to respondents to obtain clarification on the information provided.

The CDE follow-up period will occur from February 19, 2014 through March 5, 2014. A Review Committee will evaluate vendor responses to ensure all requested information has been provided prior to potential vendors presenting to the SBE at its meeting scheduled for March 12 and 13, 2014.
5. Regarding the “Goal of This RFI” section, page 5, bullet 3, and the content alignment requirements of the test, can CDE provide respondents with the exact content standards to which the high school equivalency test must be aligned?

At minimum, the SBE will need to know whether or not the test is aligned with California’s current academic content standards: for ELA and mathematics, it is aligned with the Common Core State Standards; for science, it is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards; and for social studies, it is aligned with the standards currently adopted pursuant to EC Section 60605. Information about content standards can be found on the CDE’s Content Standards Web page.

6. Regarding the Submission of Questions and Responses to RFI, page 7, if a respondent chooses to submit hard copies of the proposal, how many copies would the CDE wish to receive?

All responses to this RFI, which may include attachments in the form of documents, audio, video, digital media, or other electronic format, must be submitted to the CDE to Mr. Shields by fax, e-mail, mail, or personal delivery and must arrive at the CDE office listed in the RFI no later than close of business, 5 p.m., on February 18, 2014. Please provide four copies of responses to this RFI if submitted to the CDE by mail or personal delivery.

Questions:   Jim Shields | jshields@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-6860
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