When Peter Gorman resigned as superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools last year to take a job with Rupert Murdoch's education technology company, some people wondered how long before he'd be back as a contractor.
On Wednesday, an announcement came out that his company has been hired to track student results from new exams being developed for North Carolina and several other states.
After Gorman left, CMS backed away from that testing program, letting the N.C. Department of Public Instruction take the lead. North Carolina is part of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a state-led coalition working on new exams that will be linked to the national Common Core academic standards. The state is also working on its own exams for subjects other than English and math (see the Ready program).
On Wednesday, the consortium announced it has awarded a contract to Wireless Generation to track results from the new exams. "The reporting system will provide student-level results from the Smarter Balanced interim and summative assessments, as well as growth data showing whether students are on track to be college- and career-ready. Reports summarizing student achievement and growth at the classroom, school, district, and state levels will also be available to authorized users," the news release says. (The grammar cop in me wants to whack the consortium with a billy club for shortening its name to "Smarter Balanced." Folks, you need a noun.)
Murdoch's News Corp. (best known as the parent company of the Fox network and the source of England's phone-hacking scandals) acquired Wireless Generation shortly after hiring Joel Klein, former chancellor of New York City schools, Gorman and others to launch a new education division. Wireless is part of what is now known as Amplify, with Klein as CEO and Gorman as senior vice president for education services.
Meanwhile, Gorman's successor, Heath Morrison, is rolling out his plan for CMS, which includes better use of data, intense focus on individual student results and better recognition of the most effective teachers. He'll be relying on the state for much of the testing and data he needs to move forward. Stay tuned.