RFQ: K-12 Learning Assessment Platform

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I.  INTRODUCTION

Michigan Virtual™ is requesting Quotes for an assessment authoring and distribution platform that delivers assessments seamlessly to users (students and teachers) and is Learning Management System (LMS) and device agnostic. For the purposes of this document “assessments” generally refers to quizzes and tests, although platforms that support other types of assignments (e.g. submit a file, discussion forums) are of interest as well. Support for Michigan Virtual authored assessments is a requirement, but solutions that also provided pre populated assessment items will be considered as well.  The desired platform will support alignment of questions to standards/competencies, development of assessments from item banks, and meet WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility standards including support for math/science equations via MathML. Additionally, the platform should meet interoperability standards for QTI and LTI-type access provisioning. By releasing this RFQ, Michigan Virtual makes no guarantee of any awards of work to any respondents now or in the future.

II.    BACKGROUND OF MICHIGAN VIRTUAL

Michigan Virtual is a 501(c)(3) organization located in Lansing, Michigan, and was established by the State of Michigan in 1998 to expand the use of learning technologies with a focus to serve Michigan’s K-12 community with quality online instructional services. Today, Michigan  Virtual offers online courses to students, professional development services to educators, and conducts research in the areas of blended and online learning.  Michigan Virtual is funded through state and federal grants as well as tuition revenue. Michigan Virtual employs nearly 400 people located throughout the United States, with headquarters in Lansing, Michigan. Annual K-12 student enrollments are 40-50K represented by 20-25K students served. Additionally we are a service provider to over 500 schools.  

III.    DESCRIPTION OF THE REQUEST

Michigan Virtual is seeking quotes for a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform with the capabilities listed below in order to provide these services to K-12 school customers.  The COVID 19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital learning across the state. As a result many schools have or are implementing their own learning management systems (LMS). Michigan Virtual has an existing content management system, which allows course content to be authored and managed in one location and shared to other LMSs via LTI. We are looking for a similar solution for our assessments in order to author/manage in a centralized platform and deploy assessments to customers across a variety of LMSs.  To this end we have generated a high level list of requirements as outlined. Not all of the requirements need to be met for a solution to be considered.   

IV. REQUIREMENTS

Vendors are asked to review the Learning Assessment Platform Requirements  for this RFQ. Self-rate the proposed software solution and describe the provision for each requirement as part of the Quote submission to Michigan Virtual. As noted on the Requirements, please make a copy with view permissions, and submit an electronic and hard copy as part of submitting the quote. 

V. SUBMISSION PROCESS, REQUIREMENTS, CONTENT, AND FORMAT

In order to gather useful information and simplify the evaluation process Michigan Virtual requires that consistent documentation is provided by all vendors. Please follow the guidelines described below. 

A. Process. The process for selecting an assessment platform solution is described below.

  1. RFQ and Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) posting to michiganvirtual.org.
  2. Receipt form vendor of NDA to gain access to the Question and Answer session.
  3. Vendors submit quotes.
  4. Virtual demonstrations for advancing vendors.
  5. Finalist Sandbox provisioning 
  6. Reference checks on finalists
  7. Direction determination by Michigan Virtual and notice to vendors.
  8. Contracting.
  9. Pilot for Summer Term 2022.

B. Non-Disclosure Agreement. The NDA is available on the webpage where the RFQ is posted and is linked in the Important Dates section. It guarantees all information provided to us will be treated confidentially. 

C. Quote. Responses to this RFQ are to be organized in the manner and format described below. Any relevant supplemental information should be included as attachments. Michigan Virtual is not subject to FOIA. As noted above, all documentation submitted is confidential and will not be disclosed to any parties outside of Michigan Virtual.  All four sections noted below (from Business Information to Client References) must be included in your quote to be considered a complete submission. More details for each section appear below.

  1. Business Information
    1. Describe your business including legal business name, year the business was organized, legal status (corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, etc.) state of corporation, approximate number of staff in your firm and if you plan to subcontract any of this work.
    2. Provide a brief narrative (no more than one page) that outlines the firm’s strengths and distinguishing skills or capabilities related to your Assessment platform. Include key staff members who will serve on this team, including their credentials, related skill sets, billing rate and level of participation, along with contact information.
    3. Describe your experience serving K12 educational nonprofits and how your assessment platform meets the unique needs of this space.
  2. Requirements Satisfaction. With your proposal, please complete your answers to the Learning Assessment Platform Requirements following criteria in the documentation. Use the Notes column to explain your ratings. As noted on the Requirements, please make a copy, with view permissions, and submit an electronic and hard copy as part of submitting a complete final proposal.
  3. Fees. Using the Learning Assessment Platform Quote template provided, please document the fees associated with providing the solutions we have described.  As noted on the template, please make a copy, with view permissions, and submit an electronic and hard copy as part of submitting a complete final proposal. In the section’s narrative, please also provide the following information:
    1. Define “active user”, License and SLA levels and whether user accounts can be reused.
    2. If your pricing model includes a “perpetual license” describe any additional ongoing costs such as maintenance, help desk support or other typical added cost support over the contract period. 
    3. Include for the past three years, the average percentage price change for your product each year in similar sized implementations.
    4. Does your company offer an educational nonprofit discount, and if so, what percentage reduction does this represent?
    5. Include an explanation of your firm’s billing procedures. 
  4. Client References. Provide the names and full contact information for a minimum of three clients similar to Michigan Virtual with brief case histories of your work for them. 

V. SELECTION CRITERIA

Only the quotes of vendors with current experience integrating with multiple LMSs and those that have submitted their NDA will be considered. Michigan Virtual selection of a vendor to provide an Assessment Platform will consider the factors below:

  • Fit between vendor’s experience and tool capabilities, and Michigan Virtual’s needs.
  • Experience serving other K12 organizations.
  • Level and methods of satisfying our Requirements.
  • Competitiveness and value delivered in proportion to fees proposed.
  • Quality of references. 

It is important to note that Michigan Virtual reserves the right to make the Award to the vendor of its choosing, reflective of our understanding of needs, the audiences served and results desired rather than solely based on pricing or other combinations of factors. Further, this RFQ does not obligate Michigan Virtual to award any contract. We reserve the right to cancel the RFQ at our discretion. 

VI.  RFP QUESTIONS, DUE DATES, CONTACT 

Here are key dates to be aware of for this RFQ process.  It is not uncommon for dates to change.  Participating vendors will be notified of changes during the process. 

DateItem
Thursday November 18, 2021RFQ is posted to the Michigan Virtual website with Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) 
Tuesday, November 30, 2021, 3 – 4 pm Live Q & A session 3 – 4 pm EST. (Email for invite.)
Tuesday, December 14, 2021 Noon ESTWritten Quotes due to Michigan Virtual 
December 20 & 21, 2021Virtual demonstrations for advancing vendors 
Tuesday, January 4, 2022Finalist Sandbox provisioning 
Tuesday, January 18, 2022Hold for second round of virtual demonstrations by finalists
January 19-21, 2022Reference checks on finalists
Tuesday, February 1, 2022Direction Determination. Sandboxes expire
Friday, June 3, 2022Initiate Live Pilot

Please direct all correspondence and questions related to this RFQ and the required elements as indicated below. 

  1. Email the contact below by November 29, 2021 5 pm EST for access to the Virtual Live Q & A Session on November 30, 2021 from 3 – 4 pm EST. 
  2. One (1) electronic copy of your quote with NDA sent by email to the contact below, and one (1) printed and signed hard copy of your quote no later than Noon EST, Tuesday, December 14, 2021. Please note that the submission of the emailed materials will be the measure of on-time delivery rather than the arrival of the printed materials. 

The single point of contact for RFQ #11182021: 

Julie Force
Process/Project Manager
Michigan Virtual
920 Municipal Way
Lansing, MI 48917
[email protected]

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About Michigan Virtual

Michigan Virtual™ (formally known as Michigan Virtual University®) provides online courses for Michigan students, professional development for educators and is the parent organization of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute®. As a nonprofit organization with more than 20 years of experience, Michigan Virtual is Michigan’s leading voice in online education. Visit us at michiganvirtual.org.

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Limited Course Capacity

We’re sorry to inform you that we have reached capacity for several of our Semester 1 and Trimester 1 courses. You’ll notice when attempting to enroll students in our Student Learning Portal that some courses are unavailable. While we are no longer accepting new enrollments for these courses at this time, many courses continue to remain open for enrollment.

With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

For schools that still need online learning options this year, please fill out the form at the bottom of our virtual pathways page to meet with someone to discuss other solutions. While some of our teacher-led courses are full, we may still have the capacity to help you in upcoming terms or can discuss timing to implement a whole-school or collaborative program in which local teachers from your school/district use our online course content to teach students. We also have free course content and resources available for you to use.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for all, and we’re sorry if the courses you’re looking for are unavailable. We never want to turn away a student who wants to learn from us. Our top concern, however, is student success, and we have a policy to not take on additional enrollments if we cannot guarantee that all students will have a quality online learning experience. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate the unusually high volume of enrollments we are receiving.