Awarded to Hippo Digital Limited

Start date: Monday 1 April 2019
Value: £1,161,100
Company size: SME
Standards and Testing Agency (STA), Department for Education

Online Assessment - Beta

6 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 2 large

8 Completed applications

6 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Friday 15 February 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 22 February 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 1 March 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Beta phase: co-located agile team required to build and implement an online/onscreen assessment. The service must meet the digital service standards including compatibility with STA's planned assessment service platform.
Latest start date
Monday 1 April 2019
Expected contract length
18 months
West Midlands
Organisation the work is for
Standards and Testing Agency (STA), Department for Education
Budget range
Budget of up to £1.29m. Bidders must fully detail their resources and charges at the proposal stage. Travel and Subsistence should be included in the proposed charges.

About the work

Why the work is being done
STA are looking to design and develop an online/onscreen digital Reception Baseline Assessment (dRBA) by September 2022, to be delivered in primary schools within England.
Problem to be solved
Schools will administer the dRBA assessment shortly after pupils enter their Reception year, at the start of their primary education. It will be an online assessment of a pupil’s ability in: communication, language and literacy, and early maths skills. teachers will record the results. It will not be used to judge, label or track pupils. We need to design and develop a digitised assessment which fit within a digitally-literate world so that we can offer valid-adaptive-secure digitised assessments. Aim is for the solution to secure better value for money, achieved through better design and processes; creating schools and STA efficiencies.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a Headteacher/Teacher - I complete assessment administration, view results
As a Pupil - I undertake assessments (using access arrangements if applicable) that are fair and comparable
As a STA Digitised Assessment Service Manager - I prepare assessment windows, support in-school administration, monitor system performance and review MI so I identify issues.
As a STA Test developer - I upload assessment forms, review question performance to ensure check forms remain valid.
Early market engagement
We have had some early and (no commitment) market engagement with potential suppliers to discuss capacity and capability in this area. We have also looked to learn from experience of other national administrations (in Europe, US, NZ, Australia et al)
Any work that’s already been done
Discovery currently in pre-launch phase - go live to be confirmed
Existing team
You will be required to work alongside the STA team consisting of a Product Owner, Associate Product Owner, Test Development Researcher, User Researcher and Business Analyst. You will also be required to work alongside another contractor delivering the Assessment Service Platform.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Cheylesmore House, Quinton Road, Coventry. CV1 2WT
Working arrangements
Co-located with the team in Coventry to maximise opportunity for engagement with DfE users and stakeholders. 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). We will operate using agile project management methodology including daily stand ups, sprint planning, sprints, retrospectives and show and tells. Face to face attendance at all Show and Tells is expected. There is some flexibility for remote arrangements.
Security clearance
The team will need BPSS as a minimum.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
DfE shall have the right to terminate the Contract at any time, by giving 28 days written notice to the Supplier, and DfE's liability thereto shall be limited to costs reasonably incurred by the Supplier up until the termination date only. Suppliers must confirm acceptance of this term.

Skills and experience

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

Essential skills and experience
  • Have experience in delivering similar solutions in cloud -based environments and understand the security and management of cloud components.
  • Proven track record of delivering projects at speed with clearly identified deliverables and timescales.
  • Demonstrable evidence of excellent planning, coordination, communication and project management skills.
  • Demonstrable evidence of incorporating latest technologies to enhance product specifications, resulting in increased functionality and improved user experience.
  • Demonstrable evidence of a robust risk management process, including risk identification, mitigations and governance.
  • Have experience of delivering high quality content and information architecture design for complex user journeys across multiple touchpoints, that meets user needs.
  • Demonstrate experience of designing digital assessments.
  • Examples of delivering services using agile teams practising Kanban Methodology, meet the Digital Service Standard/Tech Code of Practice and examples of passed GDS Beta Service assessments.
  • Expertise in taking forward user research and usability testing to meet user needs to meet any set acceptance criteria (including assisted digital, users with access needs and accessibility audits)
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

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence that your proposed approach and methodology for delivery will successfully deliver working software to meet user needs and meet specified acceptance criteria.
  • Proposed supplier team structure, with evidence to demonstrate a strong team and how their skills and experience will deliver the required outcomes
  • Evidence that the supplier has an appreciation of the education and educational technology policy landscape and that the proposal is relevant to that context
  • Evidence of how the proposal represents value for money.
  • Demonstration of ability to work with DfE/STA in-house teams with limited technical and agile expertise.
  • Evidence of the required technical capabilities to provide immediate impact and working software.
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,
  • [Desirable] experience of working with the educational sector and/or experience of primary assessment development .
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. What programme language preference does DfE have, Java, CSS etc?
.net is preferred framework, as it's Microsoft technology and works well with Azure.
2. Would DfE look at a pre-built product over pure development?
This is the first national digital/online assessment of 4 year olds – if a pre-built product exists we would look at it.