State holds up signing CalTIDES contract with IBM

Technical problems dogging Californias new student data system have caused state officials to hold up signing an agreement with the same vendor for the first phase of the California Longitudinal Teacher Integrated Data System.The $11 million CalTIDES agreement with IBM has been put on hold by the states Chief Information Officer and the California Department of Education largely because of ongoing troubles that the company has run into in delivering on its contract for the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System.The two projects are intended to give California unprecedented access to student performance data while helping education officials better evaluate teachers and principals and isolate best instructional practices.The $42 million CalPADS program was launched in October after years of planning. But earlier this month, State Superintendent Jack OConnell pushed back until May the first big deadline using the system the annual student census count because of the problems with the program. OConnell also ordered a two-month review of the system.State officials said that while there are some related issues, they have not been happy with the performance of IBM on the CalPADS project and holding up signatures on the CalTIDES contract might be one way of getting the companys attention.Keric Ashley, CDEs director of data management, said that the state has some latitude still before the CalTIDES contract would need to be signed or rejected and they are waiting.We are interested in seeing some progress with CalPADS, Ashley said. Right now, the contract could be signed but it has not.A spokeswoman for IBM said Monday she was not aware of the problems with the CalPADS program and could not respond to the CalTIDES contract issue.Teacher data, like student information, is collected and held by a variety of agencies on both a state and local level. The CalTIDES system is envisioned as comprehensive, integrated and aimed not only for helping evaluate teachers and principals but also in isolating best practices for instructional strategy.Both systems are also needed to comply with No Child Left Behind mandates and with new goals associated with the federal Race to the Top competition.The IBM contract had been scheduled for signing in March.

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