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Amplify Insight Wins Contract from Common-Core Testing Consortium

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One of the two consortia developing tests for the Common Core State Standards has awarded a $12.5 million contract to Amplify Insight to develop a digital library of formative assessment professional learning tools for educators.

The award from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, announced Tuesday, will come from a four-year, $175 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, given to support the group of states' efforts in crafting the exams.

The consortium estimates that it has given out $90 million in contracts so far, and that it plans to award about $70 million more, a Smarter Balanced official told Education Week.

Amplify Insight is a division of Amplify, an ed-tech company whose chief executive officer is Joel Klein, the former New York City schools chancellor. Amplify is the education arm of the media conglomerate News Corp., led by Rupert Murdoch. Last week, Amplify received a blast of media attention when it unveiled a new tablet device, loaded with classroom management tools and interactive lessons, at the South by Southwest education gathering.

This will be the second contract awarded to Amplify Insight by Smarter Balanced, with the first one being granted last year to what was then Wireless Generation, in partnership with ETS, to develop software to report and analyze results from the assessments.

A competitive procurement process was used to issue the award, one that was overseen by Washington state's office of the superintendent of public instruction. (Washington state is one of the member states in the Smarter Balanced consortium).

An evaluation committee of representatives from the Smarter Balanced governing state reviewed and scored the proposals, said consortium officials, who provided details on the procurement process here.

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