Williamson County Schools in Middle Tennessee recently identified a need for an assessment platform, and, as the district Assessment Analyst, I was charged with finding one that would meet the needs of our district. I quickly discovered finding a good fit can be a daunting task. A simple search online or even a stroll through the vendor hall at a conference will reveal there are so many options that it can be overwhelming!
I’m pleased to announce I survived the process, but the most difficult part was just getting started. Before contract negotiations, before implementation considerations, and even before demonstrations with administrators, I first needed a short list of potential vendors. While considering our pre-established district processes and expectations, I had to determine what we needed versus was we just wanted. For those who are currently in the search process or know that their assessment search is looming on the horizon, here are three tips that might help you make it through as well.
If the demonstration of those questions seemed overly cumbersome, I knew the item writing process would be a significant hurdle in the overall implementation.
Of course, there were many other considerations beyond these three areas. Will it work on student devices? Will it integrate with our SIS? How easy is it to create tests? Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. While important, these considerations rarely distinguished one contending platform from another since most of the prominent solutions available are on a relatively level playing field in these areas. By determining our key areas of interest, we were able to whittle down the competitor pool and finally choose the one solution that met all of our needs and expectations.