Data Recognition Corporation (DRC) Announces Agreement To Acquire Key Assets of the CTB Assessment Business of McGraw-Hill Education

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Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), a leading provider of educational assessment services, today announced it has agreed to acquire key assets of the CTB assessment business of McGraw-Hill Education. The move will strengthen DRC’s position as a leader in the development and administration of K–12 assessments. It also enables McGraw-Hill Education to focus more squarely on its core mission of improving results for students, educators and professionals by enhancing teaching and learning. The transaction is expected to close today. Its financial terms were not disclosed.

“With the addition of CTB’s products and services, we will continue to broaden the portfolio of assessment solutions we can offer education clients across the country,” said DRC Chief Executive Officer and President Susan Engeleiter. “CTB has a record of more than 85 years of excellence in assessment. It is a leader in norm-referenced and custom state assessment programs, and pioneered successful testing programs in the adult education and language proficiency assessment markets. We are excited about integrating CTB’s products, experience and expertise into our business as the education industry continues to evolve.”

DRC has provided customized, full-service assessment services to the K–12 education market for more than 35 years. The company is known for facilitating the transition to online assessment and delivering innovative, highly reliable technology solutions to state departments of education nationwide. This acquisition will expand DRC’s presence in the United States as CTB serves approximately 8 million students across the country. DRC will acquire CTB’s statewide custom business and summative shelf assessment products, including TerraNova®, LAS Links®, TABE®, and TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ high school equivalency assessment.

“Our mission at McGraw-Hill Education is to improve educational outcomes, and we feel that we’re better positioned to accomplish this by focusing on supporting teaching and learning rather than the summative testing market,” said David Levin, president and chief executive officer of McGraw-Hill Education. “We value the contribution that CTB has made to education, and we are pleased for the business to find such an excellent home at DRC. We’re also excited to continue our work in formative assessment, which we see as key to enhancing instruction and integral to our process of developing personalized and adaptive courseware.”

CTB brings additional expertise to DRC in research, test development and reporting. In the K–12 market, CTB customers include public, private and charter schools, and districts. Both companies are recognized for helping states transition to new college- and career-readiness state standards nationwide.

One of the first U.S. assessment providers to introduce objective, standardized achievement tests to schools, CTB in recent years has developed innovations including web-based assessment and reporting, student response device software and adaptive assessment. While the sale of CTB will represent McGraw-Hill Education’s exit from the summative and shelf testing markets, the company will continue to develop and deliver formative assessments, as these are closely aligned to the company’s K–12 instructional products and services.

The companies have developed a transition plan to ensure that CTB customers will experience a smooth transition into working with DRC on their assessment programs.

About Data Recognition Corporation
Founded in 1978, Data Recognition Corporation (DRC) is a privately held company headquartered in Maple Grove, Minnesota. DRC is one of the most experienced testing contractors in the nation, serving 13 states and delivering assessments for multi-state consortia. The company is a leader in transitioning states to online testing via its DRC INSIGHT™ Online Learning System. DRC INSIGHT is a secure, powerful online testing engine that supports and enhances the testing experience for students and educators. For more information, visit www.datarecognitioncorp.com.

About McGraw-Hill Education
McGraw-Hill Education is a learning science company that delivers personalized learning experiences that help students, parents, educators and professionals drive results. McGraw-Hill Education has offices across North America, India, China, Europe, the Middle East and South America, and makes its learning solutions available in nearly 60 languages. Visit us at mheducation.com or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

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DRC Acquires Key Assets of CTB

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Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), a leading provider of educational assessment services, has agreed to acquire key assets of the CTB assessment business of McGraw-Hill Education. The move will strengthen DRC’s position as a leader in the development and administration of K–12 assessments.

Below is a letter to our customers from CTB/McGraw-Hill President Ellen Haley:

July 1, 2015

Dear CTB/McGraw-Hill Customer:

I’m writing to inform you that McGraw-Hill Education has reached an agreement to sell assets of CTB/McGraw-Hill to Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), an industry-leading assessment company based in Minnesota. I’m excited by the prospect of bringing together two exceptional testing companies in CTB and DRC, and what that means in terms of providing exceptional assessment solutions and services for schools, teachers and students.

DRC will be a great home for CTB and a wonderful company to support you and your assessment programs. The two companies have worked together in the past on state programs, and DRC has become a very close partner to us over the last few years. We are very impressed with DRC’s capabilities, including their online testing platform and their track record of excellent customer service. The agreement to sell CTB to DRC includes products such as TerraNova®, LAS Links®, TABE®, and the Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ (TASC) in addition to our custom summative assessments. With the combined strengths of CTB and DRC, you will receive an even better level of service.

I want to assure you that I will personally work to make sure that the transition process is both smooth and transparent. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our staff at 1.800.538.9547 and look for additional information on CTB.com.

Thank you for your loyalty to CTB; we have truly valued our relationships with our customers and know that your future relationship with DRC will be very strong.

Sincerely,

Ellen Haley

President, CTB/McGraw-Hill

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Study Confirms Positive Effects of Acuity Interim Assessments for Reading and Mathematics

Acuity® interim assessments score high marks for impacting reading and mathematics achievement in elementary and middle school.

WScreenshot 2015-02-17 14_46_23hat Works Clearinghouse (WWC) has reviewed and endorsed the findings of a study on the effects of Diagnostic Assessment Tools (DAT) on student achievement in mathematics and literacy. Among other findings, the study revealed “statistically significant positive effects” in mathematics achievement for grades 5 and 6 and in grades 3-5 for reading for students using DAT. Students within the groups showing significant positive effects were using the Acuity assessments from CTB/McGraw-Hill. Following an in-depth review of research methodology of the study, the WWC has also declared that it meets research design standards “without reservations.”

The study, entitled “The Impact of Indiana’s System of Interim Assessments on Mathematics and Reading Achievement” was conducted during the 2009-2010 academic year by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and researchers from Michigan State University. Researchers analyzed the performance of over 40,000 students from 59 randomly selected schools throughout Indiana. All students in the study were using DAT solutions from either Acuity (including the ISTEP+ and TerraNova) or the mCLASS from Amplify (including Reading3D and mClass: Math). All DAT systems used in the study were accompanied by tools for progress monitoring, data-informed instructional adjustment, and online support allowing teachers to review performance data.

What Works Clearinghouse is a government-sponsored initiative designed to inform educational decision making through the impartial review of educational research, policies, and student-facing tools. Achieving the “without reservations” rating from the WWC combined with the study’s evidence of “statistically significant positive effects” serves as a resounding endorsement for the Acuity-based diagnostic assessments in mathematics (grades 5 & 6) and reading (grades 3-5).

For more information about the WWC’s review of this study and the Acuity assessment solution, see the following:

 

Acuity: A Comprehensive K-12 Interim Assessment Solution

TerraNova Assessments

Study | The Impact of Indiana’s System of Indiana’s System of Interim Assessments on Mathematics and Reading Achievement

WWC Review of The Report “The Impact of Indiana’s System of Interim Assessments on Mathematics and Reading Achievement

The Acuity® K-12 interim assessment solution provides educators with a deep understanding of every student’s strengths and opportunities for improvement in relation to the new college and career readiness standards. With Acuity, educators will receive valid and reliable assessment data, because the items were developed using the same process that McGraw-Hill Education used to develop items that reflect the blueprint and rigor of the Smarter Balanced™ and PARCC® summative assessments. Educators can select from a comprehensive line-up of Acuity assessments, including diagnostic forms for Grades K-12 and the new readiness forms for Grades 3-8, available in fixed form and adaptive. Additionally, educators will receive custom test building and item authoring capabilities, access to standards-based item banks and over 2,000 Common Core-aligned instructional resources. Using Acuity’s standards-based reports, educators can instantly create instructional remediation and enrichment plans based on each student’s assessment results, ensuring that every student receives the right instructional support at the right time. A win-win for educators and students!

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Why Data Matters Series: How Understanding Assessment Data Can Transform Your School

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Quality educational assessments not only capture data on learning and achievement but also are fundamentally changing the way teachers teach, students learn, and parents engage in classrooms around the world. They provide essential information to guide genuine education reform and improvement and allow us to fairly hold ourselves accountable for providing students with the quality education required to compete and thrive in their local community and in the world economy.

Administering all the assessments in the world does no good if they do not measure what was intended or yield meaningful reports, or if the data are misinterpreted and erroneously point our schools in the wrong direction. To make sure we have support for our learning, there is a wealth of instruction and professional development out there to support our data literacy, as well as assessment literacy. Like learning any new subject, understanding how to accurately collect data and properly interpret test results can be daunting at first, but is well worth the effort.

This “Why Data Matters” blog series will help you to build your plan and understand why data mastery is essential to success as teachers, administrators, and educational leaders. You’ll learn the various uses of data in education and receive a wealth of resources for continuing down the path of mastery.


 

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McGraw-Hill Education Introduces Acuity College and Career Readiness Interim Assessment Solution for Grades 3–8

McGraw-Hill Education today launched the Acuity® College and Career Readiness solution, a new interim assessment focused on ensuring students in Grades 3–8 are prepared for both college and careers. With all new test items specifically created to measure preparedness for new college and career readiness standards, Acuity College and Career Readiness (CCR) is the first interim assessment solution to reflect the unique, individual blueprints of both Smarter Balanced™ and PARCC® summative assessments. Acuity CCR can also be configured to meet the unique specifications of other state summative blueprints.

With its rich diagnostic insights, Acuity CCR enables educators to deliver a personalized intervention plan for each student with engaging, digital standards-based instructional resources. The Acuity CCR solution includes several innovative approaches to interim assessments, combining a unique blend of technology and content to create the most powerful solution for consortia readiness:

  • All new items, written to reflect college and career readiness standards, and the item specifications from both Smarter Balanced and PARCC
  • Technology-enhanced item types—created in HTML 5 for delivery on modern devices and tablets—that provide evidence of student mastery of college and career readiness standards
  • Constructed response, evidence-based selected response, and performance task item types that fully measure standards where multiple choice items cannot
  • A forthcoming adaptive testing option

The Acuity CCR solution’s growth measurement is unique among interim solutions in that it is designed to ensure educators get the right evidence to make the best decisions at the student and class level. In the first year, Acuity’s College and Career Readiness scale will let educators reliably measure individual student growth between interim tests. In subsequent years, Acuity will empower teachers to compare students’ growth year-to-year and to each other. The high quality content included in the solution possesses the variety, rigor and authentic standards alignment needed to prepare students for college and career.

“As the only assessment publisher with experience creating items for both Smarter Balanced and PARCC assessment consortia, we at McGraw-Hill Education have been able to leverage our experience, item writing process, and expert talent to create the most tightly aligned, interim assessment solution for districts using new college and career readiness standards,” said Zach Posner, president of Engrade® and senior vice president of McGraw-Hill Education, School. “With the introduction of Acuity CCR, teachers can be confident they are fully preparing their students for new summative assessments and for college and careers.”

For more information about the Acuity College and Career Readiness assessment solution for Grades 3–8 visit: AcuityCCR.com

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