166 Pages of Records In a Seven Snapshots – The Released iStation Meeting Notes

When Justin Parmenter published his post on the released iStation meeting notes from DPI through a records request on his blog Notes From the Chalkboard, he made sure to include this graphic as a summation of how the committee actually recommended mClass over iStation.

Last night, WRAL posted its article on the released DPI notes.

After weeks of controversy over North Carolina’s new contract with a K-3 reading test company, State Superintendent Mark Johnson released more than 150 pages of internal documents late Friday in response to numerous public records requests for the information. The records show some of the state education department’s behind-the-scenes discussions about which company should be chosen for the multimillion dollar contract.

Committees of education leaders that reviewed the companies competing for the contract ranked Amplify the highest, followed by Istation, the records show. Despite the majority of committee members recommending Amplify, the state superintendent chose to award the contract to Istation, setting off a weeks-long controversy over the decision.

One can see those documents here.

In the WRAL posting, Kelley Hinchcliffe reported Mark Johnson as saying,

In a statement, Johnson warned that the records he released late Friday are incomplete – more will be released later – and “might not present a full picture of the process.” He said some committee members made “misstatements of facts” that were later clarified and corrected but not updated in the records.

“It is our hope, though, that these public records help to eliminate some of the misinformation,” he wrote.

166 pages seems to be a lot to sift through for some. According to Johnson, these pages are incomplete. But there are seven screenshots that may tell the overall story fairly well.


Of the six sets of criteria that were used to measure all of the vendors being reviewed, Amplify (mClass) ranked #1 in four of them; iStation ranked #2 in those four that Amplify scored a #1.

iStation did have two #1 rankings – in sets of criteria that Amplify actually ranked last (#4). But there is a catch there on both those #4 rankings by Amplify.

The first is cost. As Johnson has already shown in previous “deals” with iPads, price points can be negotiated. Any LEA administrator can testify that buying resources in bulk or on a wide basis can negate a sticker price that was previously published.

The second dealt with “Vendor Financial Stability”. The reason that Amplify ranked last is that one person could not do a “quick ratio” calculation. But even that person said it should not present a concern. Look at that part a little more closely.


Again, costs and finances can be negotiated. That’s business.

But it’s this table on page 155 that seems to show a lot of info. That’s a measurement of the strength of the product.


Those are the scores for the demonstrations for the products. Amplify scored with 33 Yes votes and 0 No votes. iStation had 20 Yes votes and 13 No Votes.

Would be interesting to hear Johnson explain that.

One thought on “166 Pages of Records In a Seven Snapshots – The Released iStation Meeting Notes

  1. Check out page 42 of the document. It lists iStation as the 2nd choice, and in the weaknesses, lists that one of the components, SOC 2 Type II assessment, will not be ready until Spring 2019. The bullet point indicates that could compromise the award contract. Could it be that Johnson canceled the process as a way to stall for time for them to finish it?
    I also think it’s interesting to note that the bullet right above that makes it crystal clear that iStation does NOT meet the guidelines for Dyslexia screening.


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