ACT Protests Michigan Department of Education Decision
Protesting the Michigan Department of Education and DTMB’s Joint Evaluation Committee’s plan to transition to the College Board’s SAT college entrance assessment, the ACT formally requested an appeal hearing. Kyle Feldscher of Mlive reports that the ACT cites considerations that benefitted the College Board unfairly as their reason for protest. The decision is pending final approval from the State Administrative Board. The Joint Evaluation Committee in a press release stated that the College Board’s bid scored higher than that of the ACT and was chosen for cost saving, as well as value-added offers for Michigan high school students.
The difference in bid for the three-year contract was significant. Along with the providing college entrance assessment exam, free study materials for students and professional development for teachers, the College Board agreed to redesign the SAT to more closely align with Michigan curriculum standards. The cost to the state is an estimated $17.1 million if the contact is approved, nearly half of the bid from the ACT.
However, approval may be on hold after the complaint filed by the ACT’s assistant vice president Catherine Dunn. They claim that the terms of the contract were changed after both the College Board and ACT submitted proposals and that the ACT was not formally notified of the change in terms. Dunn states that after the terms were changed, the College Board was allowed to revise its proposal while the ACT was not.
Caleb Buhs, a spokesman for the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget says that protests are uncommon but not unheard of. He says that if a hearing is to be scheduled, it would last about 10 days and would evaluate the selection process to ensure that all bidders were given fair consideration. Mlive reports that an investigative unit will evaluate both the ACT’s claims and the Joint Evaluation Committee’s actions in the decision making process, however he believes a hearing is unlikely but "[not] impossible.”