For immediate release: August 24, 2017
Contact: Emile Creel
Miss.—MSU’s Research and Curriculum Unit (RCU) has secured a 10-year, $13.6
million contract with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) for career
and technical education (CTE) assessment.
Mississippi Career Planning and Assessment System, Edition Three (MS-CPAS3)
contract, which went into effect on July 1, includes a continuation of many of
the services the RCU has provided in previous contracts for the MDE and will
expand on standard setting, research, and teacher support, among other assessment
contract aligns CTE assessment more closely to academic testing, and my goal
with the assessment team is always to facilitate instructional modification and
offer more than an arbitrary score,” said Sean Owen, associate research
professor for the RCU’s assessment team and MS-CPAS3 principal investigator.
“We aim to improve teacher quality through assessment.”
has been responsible for developing CTE assessments for the MDE for over 20
years, and MS-CPAS3 will advance the work of previous contracts by introducing
more proficiency levels and conducting additional analyses to demonstrate the
alignment of assessments with curricula.
contract also allows the RCU to increase teacher support and communication by
offering additional practice tests in each CTE pathway and increased data
access to teachers so that they can use it strategically in their practice.
has one of the best CTE testing systems in the nation,” said Owen. “Few states
offer multiple-choice tests, national certifications, and performance-based
testing across all pathways the way the RCU does for Mississippi’s CTE programs.”
differing assessments allow students to show proficiency levels in standardized,
multiple choice tests or by completing a set of career-related tasks, and many
students also take advantage of earning certifications to add to their résumés.
In addition to the tests, the RCU will provide the MDE and districts with
information about demographic-group statistics.
reporting the subgroup data, districts can identify students in achievement gaps
and begin to focus less on modification to close those gaps and improve
performance,” said Owen.
research from this contract will focus on how to effectively present data to
teachers and how to identify teachers who are excelling so that they can train their
peers at state conferences and mentor new colleagues.
continues to produce quality assessments for Mississippi’s CTE programs, and I
look forward to working with them to build on the positives from previous work
to support students and teachers,” said Mike Mulvihill, director of CTE at the
information on the RCU’s assessment work, visit rcu.msstate.edu/Assessment.
focuses on improving the lives of Mississippians through education by
developing curricula and assessments, providing training, and conducting
research for K-12 schools. More information can be found online at