MONTPELIER, Vt. — Members of a multi-state consortium that offers schools a tool to assess students with cognitive disabilities has been asked to reconsider a decision on a pricing structure that Vermont officials say would greatly increase testing costs for the state.
The Dynamic Learning Maps, a consortium of 15 states and a Florida tribe, provides the assessment system integrated with instruction that has been developed for students with cognitive disabilities. The test is given to about 1 percent of the public school students in each state.
The University of Kansas Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation administers the test, and has asked the consortium to reconsider its decision, said Neal Kingston, the center’s interim director.
Kingston opposes the pricing structure the consortium board chose.
The move comes after Vermont Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe wrote a letter Sept. 8 to the governing board of the Dynamic Learning Maps, expressing concerns with the decision. She said the process lacked transparency, clear information, participation by consortium representatives and involvement of state education chiefs.
“Vermont is currently exploring our options to work with a different provider due to this vote,” she wrote.
Vermont’s congressional delegation said Tuesday that the chosen pricing structure would shift the cost of rising prices onto small states. They said Vermont, for instance, would see a price jump from $39 to an estimated $459 per test next year.
In New Hampshire, 760 students took the Dynamic Learning Maps assessment last year at a cost of $39 per assessment. Lori Kincaid, spokeswoman for the New Hampshire Department of Education, said different scenarios are being presented for the future.
Consortium members who represent each state are expected to respond to the request by Friday.
“Since in fact (for) the majority of the states, nine out of 15, it costs more under the scenario they approved, my expectation is that there is a very good chance that they will change the cost allocation method to one that is not adverse to small states,” Kingston said.
Other states in the consortium are Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The Miccosukee Indian tribe in Florida also is a member.