1. Describe what the needs are for data from the assessment system, including how the data will be reported and to whom. If some types of data are not needed, then that should be included in the RFP as well.

  2. Specify the level of cognitive demand and the dimensions of performance that are to be assessed.

  3. Articulate the minimum needs and where there is room for fresh ideas or creative approaches.

  1. States should keep all bidders informed during the submission process. Some strategies that have worked include:

    1. Hosting a forum at which there are ongoing opportunities to clarify and ask questions about the RFP.

    2. Establishing a process by which prospective bidders can access all of the questions that are asked by other bidders and that are answered by state assessment officials.

    3. Avoiding making last-minute changes to the RFP after it has been released, but if changes need to be made, do not make them close to the submission deadline and make sure all prospective bidders have access to them.

  1. States should develop a realistic timetable for the RFP and the decision-making process.

    1. Make sure there is enough time between when the RFP is released and when the proposals need to be submitted.

    2. Leave sufficient time between the end of the question-and-answer period and the final submission deadline.

    3. Do not change the length of the proposal review period or final vendor selection deadline. This makes it difficult for the test development companies to plan and staff accordingly.

  1. States should consider using a two-stage process in deciding on a contractor.

    1. If a state has a lot of uncertainty about its assessment system, then it should consider releasing first a request for information that can later help it to shape an RFP.

    2. States should consider awarding a small contract to a developer to help them define components of their RFP or assessment system that are new.

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