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School Improvement RFP of the Week (2): Expert Systems for High School Students’ Career Guidance

Announcement: Computer Based Career Assessment Program Due July 2, Phoenix Union High School, Arizona

Their Description: The purpose of this Request for Proposal is to enter into a contract with a qualified offeror or firm to provide a computer-based career assessment instrument to be used in the Business and Computer Applications 3-4, Career Connections, and Cooperative Office Education courses throughout the district. The career assessment will be used as a tool to assist students in meeting district and state standards related to Career Planning. Also, with the state mandated Arizona Education and Career Action Plan (ECAP) effective for the graduation class of 2013, the career assessment results will be provided to all counselors to assist them in developing and updating an ECAP with every student....

Functional Requirements:

The computer-based career assessment software should, at a minimum, be able to accomplish the following:
• A multidimensional inventory instrument that identifies career interest, job satisfaction areas, and career training strengths.
• The assessment should include both an aptitude and interest component.
• The aptitude portion should be based on answers to numerical, verbal, spatial-form, and abstraction problems.
• The assessment should be available in both English and Spanish.
• The assessment should be available at various reading levels or at least be able to be understood by someone with a minimum 6th grade reading level.
• Career recommendations should be selected from the occupations listed in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) or Occupational Information Network (O*Net).
• The assessment results should include an easy-to-read graphic profile report and an interpretive report that summarizes the inventory’s assessment results and career recommendations.
• Vendors are to submit samples of their reports available through their program.

Technical Requirements:

• The assessment must have the capability of being administered via the internet.
• Ability to return to assessment and finish sections not completed.
• Capability to archive assessment results.
• The results need to be accessible to the teachers and counselors either through hard copy, CD, or archive.
• On-line results should be immediately accessible to the students after they have completed the test.
• Each participating school must have its own account to administer the assessment to students. Teachers need to have access to these accounts.
• Technical support and on-going training needs to be included in the site license agreement.
• Needs to be compatible with PC’s and MAC’s

Qualifications and Experience:

The Offeror shall demonstrate that the assessment program is based on scientific research with validity and reliability. The offeror must also provide a detail description of the history of their product.

Implementation, Training and Support:

The Offeror shall provide project start-up services, including in-depth training with selected district professional development staff members for the purpose of a trainer of trainer’s implementation model. Training should include how to administer the assessment, analyze and interpret the data reports, and integrate the results into the existing curriculum.

My Thoughts:
Computer based career assessment is simply another way of saying “expert system.”

Over time, staff salaries will be traded for technology licenses. It’s already creeping into the classroom. Diagnostic and tutoring system are replacing portions of the judgment calls once performed by teachers. The question is how far this will go in pubic education, not whether it will happen.

K-12Leads and Youth Service Markets Report is a comprehensive weekly web-enabled report delivered by email on Monday. It covers grant and contract RFPs issued by every federal and state education and social services agency and every school district over the internet. K-12Leads is for school improvement providers who understand that their offerings are not commodities, rarely displayed as such, and so easily missed by traditional computer-based “word search” systems.

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