Education Department looks for agency help for assessment program

WASHINGTON: The Department of Education is seeking PR support for its National Assessment of Educational Progress program.

WASHINGTON: The Department of Education is seeking PR support for its National Assessment of Educational Progress program.

The department provides periodic measurements of educational achievement in reading, mathematics, science, writing, and other areas through the program.

The winning firm will provide PR support for the initiative including communications strategy, material development, and social media outreach. Target audiences will include state policymakers, educators, district and school personnel, and students and parents.

The goal of the communications work “is to reach both educational and general audiences to enhance awareness of [the program] and to improve their access to and use of assessment results,” according to the solicitation.

“While NAEP reports, the web, and social media are currently the primary vehicles for reaching the targeted audiences, [the federal agency] is looking for a creative public relations approach to enhance the reporting activities,” according to the solicitation.

Each year, the winning firm will be required to provide a PR plan that includes a calendar of milestones. Outreach strategies will include a three-pronged approach: providing outreach materials directly to audiences, working with state services centers and NAEP state coordinators, and working with a data collection contractor to provide materials that can be delivered directly to schools prior to and during the assessment.

The winning contractor will also be required to support up to 15 trade shows per year, according to the RFP.

The selected firm must also monitor and summarize traditional and social media coverage of the program. These reports will likely include an overview of print, online, and social media activity, sample news stories, highlights of major media coverage, identification of emerging issues, and alerts about negative articles and opinions.

The winning firm will also be asked to focus its coverage analysis on national media, but include local and state coverage when appropriate. The agency will also be required to alert the federal agency about major events that could impact the program, according to the RFP.

The contract is set to run from next February to January 2018, if all option years are picked up. Interested firms must register by this Friday for a pre-solicitation conference on December 3.

A representative from the Department of Education did not immediately respond to inquiries about an incumbent or the expected budget.

Hager Sharp is currently helping NAEP on various outreach efforts to engage education stakeholders.

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