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Response from Jim Foster to our PACT article

February 28, 2007

TO: SCHotline
FROM: Jim Foster
Director of Public Information
State Department of Education

A recent SCHotline news item (link below) reported on a new state
contract with Data Recognition Corp., a company the story said is being
paid to “oversee reforms” to South Carolina’s PACT tests. To the best
of my knowledge, that statement is incorrect. My understanding is that
DRC’s assignment is not to “reform PACT,” but rather to study the
feasibility and costs of computerized testing in South Carolina’s public
school system. You can check this with the Budget and Control Board’s
Materials Management Office, which oversaw the awarding of the contract.

Your story also said PACT “fails to meet federal No Child Left Behind
reporting standards,” and that is incorrect, too. In fact, South
Carolina was the first state in the nation to win NCLB approval for its
testing system. Here’s the link to our news release:
http://ed.sc.gov/news/more.cfm?articleID=614

And here’s the link to your original story:

Here is a link to Act 254, the law passed by the General Assembly that
required the feasibility study being performed by DRC:
http://scstatehouse.net/sess116_2005-2006/bills/4328.htm

Here’s how Act 254 begins:

hpc-larger.jpgSECTION 1
Computerized assessments allow for rapid reporting of assessment
results and can provide for more accurate information regarding student
achievement in a shorter period of time. To begin positioning South
Carolina for delivery of state assessments by the computer, the Budget
and Control Board shall issue a request for proposals for the purpose of
conducting a study on the feasibility and cost of converting the state
assessment program to a computer-based or computer-adaptive format. The
study must include, but is not limited to, the following:

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