Standards and Testing Agency (STA), Department for Education

STA digitally modifiable paper-based tests: discovery phase

Incomplete applications

5
Incomplete applications
4 SME, 1 large

Completed applications

15
Completed applications
12 SME, 3 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Tuesday 3 September 2019
Deadline for asking questions Tuesday 10 September 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Tuesday 17 September 2019 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Overview
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work STA wish to procure expertise to complete a discovery phase, providing user insight (STA, schools, wider stakeholders) and service improvement recommendations. It will consider existing arrangements, internal development, off-shelf solutions and school/LA processes and technology.
Latest start date Monday 11 November 2019
Expected contract length 6 weeks
Location West Midlands
Organisation the work is for Standards and Testing Agency (STA), Department for Education
Budget range £100,000

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done STA currently produces 3 modified versions of its paper-based tests for pupils with visual impairments - enlarged print, modified large print and braille. Schools can carry out further modifications locally to support a wider range of pupil needs (by photocopying or re-typing the tests), but there is currently no central provision of bespoke papers or ability to provide an electronic version of the tests (the tests are produced using specialist software). STA are looking to conduct a discovery to understand pupil needs and investigate possible solutions which would deliver modifiable paper-based tests, for first use during the 2021 test cycle.
Problem to be solved This discovery will provide insight of the needs of pupils and teachers. It will review current market capacity and recommend potential solutions, including digital, that can be considered during Alpha. The discovery will need to consider how modified tests can be provided securely in electronic or on-screen form to schools, so that further modifications can be more easily carried out.

The aim is for the solution to:
1. provide a better inclusion/pupil experience that corresponds to the needs of individual pupils
2. deliver efficiencies for schools and STA
3. ensure the validity and security of assessments throughout.
Who the users are and what they need to do • As a pupil, I need to have a paper that meets my personal needs, so I have a fair chance of doing my best (currently we receive around 1800 orders for enlarged print, 1000 orders for modified large print and 40 orders for braille. We have no figures on how many schools undertake their own modifications)
• As a classroom teacher, pupils in my class may require additional support to demonstrate their ability in the test. I need to work with the SENCO and QVTI and know what options are available to meet my pupils varying needs.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team You will be required to work alongside the STA team consisting of a Product Owner, Associate Product Owner, Test Development Researchers, Assessment Researcher and Business Analyst.
Current phase Not applicable

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place Ground Floor South, Cheylesmore House, 5 Quinton Road, Coventry, CV1 2WT
Working arrangements Co-located with the team in Coventry to maximise opportunity for engagement with DfE users and stakeholders. On site a minimum of 3 days a week, Show and tells (every 2 weeks) and daily stand ups. Would expect all of those in the team to be available for retro's and planning. Travel to other DfE sites and schools to meet users is expected but must be in line with the DfE travel & subsistence policy. Expenses must be included in the quoted contract sum (to note: there will be no separate budget for expenses).
Security clearance The team will need BPSS as a minimum.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions By issuing this invitation, the Department is not bound in any way and does not have to accept any tender. Additional contractual clauses expected include: GDPR, Departmental Security Standards (for departmental data) & clauses on issued property and use of premises.

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Skills and experience
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Essential skills and experience
  • Provide a multidisciplinary complete team able to work in an agile way to run a digital development through to completion.
  • Be able to mobilise a team within two weeks to work in Coventry.
  • Ability to work with third party teams working for the same overall service to the same customers.
  • Provision of, or willingness to subcontract, subject matter expertise in relevant disciplines.
  • Experience of compliance with the government Technology Code of Practice.
  • Demonstrate experience of delivering services for UK government departments or public bodies.
  • Demonstrate experience of managing and proactively engaging stakeholders and building relationships to support digital transformation.
  • Demonstrate experience of conducting and using user research to underpin key recommendations for complex services.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and experience of working in the schools sector.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate experience of managing and proactively engaging internal stakeholders and building relationships to support digital transformation.
  • Demonstrate experience of designing and delivering an online service.
  • Demonstrate experience of delivering services for UK government departments or public bodies.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and experience of working in the schools sector.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and experience of delivering services for users with SEN or VI requirements.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 3
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence of success in GDS assessments or confirmation of understanding and ability to do so.
  • Evidence of successful agile working and that the proposed approach and methodology will meet user needs.
  • Demonstrate of ability to work with DfE/STA in-house teams with limited technical and agile experience.
  • Evidence of effective working with third party teams delivering related services and how dependencies were (or should be) managed.
  • Evidence of working with technology standards and data standards already in place across a wider service.
  • Price (will be based on an illustrative proposed team rates and specified phases of work) showing how we can maximise value for money.
  • [Desirable] experience of working with users with special educational needs and/or users with visual impairments.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstration of a proactive approach, taking responsibility for work and resolving issues quickly, without an over reliance on the client team.
  • Demonstration of working in a transparent and collaborative way with DfE in a remote working environment; including expertise of Kanban Agile methodology, and products such as VSO, Slack and Zoom.
  • Demonstration of an understanding of DfE’s need to deliver the best value for money solution.
  • Demonstration of ability to work in a modern digital ways within DfE and GDS formal procedures and policies.
  • Experience of working with the educational sector and/or experience of primary assessment development.
  • Evidence of success in GDS assessments or confirmation of understanding and ability to do so.
  • Evidence of successful agile working and that the proposed approach and methodology will meet user needs.
  • Demonstrate of ability to work with DfE/STA in-house teams with limited technical and agile experience.
  • Evidence of effective working with third party teams delivering related services and how dependencies were (or should be) managed.
  • Evidence of working with technology standards and data standards already in place across a wider service.
  • Price (will be based on an illustrative proposed team rates and specified phases of work) showing how we can maximise value for money.
  • [Desirable] experience of working with users with specific additional needs.
Payment approach Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

10%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. The following requirements in the 'Nice-to-have skills and experience' section are duplicated from the 'Essential skills and experience' section.

• Demonstrate experience of managing and proactively engaging stakeholders and building relationships to support digital transformation.
• Demonstrate experience of delivering services for UK government departments or public bodies.
• Demonstrate knowledge and experience of working in the schools sector.

Could the buyer please confirm whether these requirements are Essential or Nice-to-have?
Thank you for your interest.

I apologise, some requirements have been inadvertently duplicated in the ‘nice to have skills and experience’ section.

These requirements are considered essential skills and experience:

• Demonstrate experience of managing and proactively engaging stakeholders and building relationships to support digital transformation.
• Demonstrate experience of delivering services for UK government departments or public bodies.
• Demonstrate knowledge and experience of working in the schools sector.

The following requirements are ‘Nice-to-have’:

• Demonstrate experience of designing and delivering an online service.
• Demonstrate knowledge and experience of delivering services for users with SEN or VI requirements.
2. Thank you for clarifying about the duplicated questions. Could you confirm how suppliers should go about submitting responses to these questions – i.e. should we enter the same response twice, knowing that only one will be evaluated and count towards the marks awarded? Thank you for your question.

Suppliers should note the following requirements have been inadvertently duplicated in the ‘nice to have skills and experience’ section.

• Demonstrate experience of managing and proactively engaging stakeholders and building relationships to support digital transformation.
• Demonstrate experience of delivering services for UK government departments or public bodies.
• Demonstrate knowledge and experience of working in the schools sector.

Suppliers should respond fully to the essential skills requirements and put N/A in these duplicate ‘nice to have’ requirements.

If suppliers add responses to both sets of requirements they will be scored on essential skills responses.
3. How likely is this initiative to progress to Alpha and Beta phases and if so, within what timescales? Thank you for your question.

A decision on whether to proceed with an Alpha phase is dependent on the outcomes and recommendations of the Discovery Phase. We cannot make a determination of the likelihood of this at this stage.
4. What timescales are you working to for informing shortlisted suppliers, submission of proposals and scheduling of presentations? Thank you for your question.

The application window for this specification closes on Tuesday 17th September 2019 at 11.59pm GMT.

The STA expect to respond to supplier proposals on the 30th September and invite selected suppliers to present their solutions at our office in Coventry. A week-long window for supplier presentations is planned from the 14th October to the 18th October, but precise details would be agreed in advance. A written copy of the supplier's proposal should be provided 1 full working day in advance of the agreed presentation date.

The project would begin on the 11th November.
5. Will STA provide access to users, or will the supplier need to identify relevant sample users? Thank you for your question.

The STA will provide an initial list of internal stakeholders including the wider team identified in the specification. The STA will also provide an initial list of external stakeholders as a starting point and further support and guidance during the project.
6. Is there further information that you will share with the down-selected suppliers? Thank you for your question.

Yes, feedback can be provided if requested.
7. Do you expect indicative user recruitment and incentive costs to be included in the proposal, or do you expect them to be passed on to the Agency as 'materials'? Thank you for your question.

All costs for this project should be managed within the tender price submitted.
8. Have you secured budget for any Alpha and Beta phase? Thank you for your question.

A budget has been profiled for a potential Alpha, but any decision to proceed will be informed by the outcomes of the Discovery.