RFP 12-013: Transcribing NYS Exams and Related Materials into Braille
- Question: On page 4 under Mandatory Requirements #3 “The individuals performing the work under this contract must be certified by the Library of Congress and the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) in literary and/or mathematics transcription”. Will you accept Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) certified transcribers under BANA as an equivalent certification to the Library of Congress?
Answer: NYSED considers certification by the Canadian Institute for the Blind to be comparable to certification by the Library of Congress. Bidders proposing to employ CNIB-certified transcribers to perform the work under this contract will be considered to meet Mandatory Requirement #3.
- Question: If we have permanent employees who work off-site, can they continue to do this work off-site?
Answer: The vendor may allow permanent staff to work off-site, assuming the following guidelines are followed at all times:
- All employees with access to test materials must sign non-disclosure agreements, which shall be provided to NYSED.
- Materials to be sent electronically must be encrypted and sent using a secure FTP site. Access to the test materials on this site must be limited to only those authorized staff working on the test. Test materials may never be sent via e-mail, fax, or any non-secure Internet transmission.
- Materials which are shipped between the vendor’s main place of business and any off-site location must be transported in NYSED-provided locked boxes using a carrier with Next-Day Air and tracking capabilities.
- All hard-copy materials, including print-outs of electronic materials made by staff, must be kept under constant supervision and locked when not in use.
- The vendor’s project plan must clearly describe the security measures to be used to ensure the security of test materials at all times, including when they are in the possession of off-site staff. The proposal must detail all procedures for storage, retrieval, surveillance, and shipment at all locations where work will occur.
- Prior to sending or transmitting any materials to a location other than the vendor’s main place of business, the vendor must notify and receive the approval of NYSED. Such notification must specify exactly what materials will be sent, for what purpose, how and to where they will be sent, what staff will have access to them, and how they will be kept secure.
- All embossing, production of graphics, and reproduction of final braille copies must take place at the vendor’s main place of business.
- Using the services of non-employees is not allowed.
- Question: Is there a possibility of waiver on thermography based on the quality of graphics?
Answer: Thermography is the required method to be utilized when transcribing graphics, because it provides clear, distinctive textures of lines and dots within graphs, charts, maps, diagrams, tables, etc. that is highly suitable for New York State tests and familiar to our braille reading students.
- Question: Are facing pages allowed, in lieu of fold outs?
Answer: Using facing pages to present a question on the left side of the braille page and the graphic on the right side is permitted. However, using facing pages to split a graphic (half on the left side of the braille page and the other half on the right) is not permitted. Splitting a graphic does not provide the student with the ability to view the map, graph, diagram, chart, table, etc. as a whole or see the relationship among certain sections or areas of a graphic. Utilizing fold-outs allows graphics containing large amounts of information to be presented in one graphic so students are able to gain the tactile perspective of viewing the graphic as a whole, and understanding how each part of the graphic is related. This is an important aspect for visually impaired students when viewing the graphics, as many test items ask about the implications of graphics or the conclusions that can be drawn from graphics. Fold-outs also allow graphics to be presented in a larger area. This makes graphics appear less cluttered and enables visually impaired students to see sections of graphics that may be left out on a standard braille page due to space limitations and the amount of space needed for braille.
- Question: If possible, please provide an estimate of the number of copies required for each exam type? Historically, what has been the experience?
Answer: For high school level exams (Regents Exams and RCTs), the required number of copies per exam title typically ranges between 6 and 36. Note that June is the primary administration and will typically require more test titles and more copies of each than administrations in January or August. For elementary and intermediate level exams, the required number of copies per exam title is typically around 80. Please note that these are only rough estimates, and the actual number of copies per exam can vary greatly.
- Question: Can you provide an estimate of the likely number of graphics output pages per examine type?
Answer: The number of graphics varies. Bidders can refer to past exams posted at http://www.nysedregents.org for an indication of the amount and types of graphics on each exam.
- Question: On page 6, under Description of Work, do the Content Area/ Exam Titles differ from month of Administration, or is it exactly the same exam reproduced?
Answer: Generally, a unique exam is administered during each administration. The vendor will need to prepare a new exam each year for the elementary and intermediate exams, and as many as three new exams each year for the high school exams. For some exams, an exam form may be reused during a subsequent administration period (although not within the same year).
- Question: In what format will we receive the exams and related material, hard copy or soft copy? If soft copy, in what file formats?
Answer: NYSED will mail the vendor a locked box containing a hard copy of the exam and a PDF on a disk.
- Question: On page 18 of the RFP, in item 4 – We will bind each subject separately; however how many copies of each are required for the submission?
Answer: One copy of each sample transcription is required.
- Question: In our experience as a provider of alternative format exams and educational materials, Swell-touch/swell-form graphics produced using specialized heat sensitive paper, and thermographic printers product results that fully meet the needs of teachers and students. Is this an acceptable substitute for the "thermography (granulated ink)" process described on page 5 of the RFP?
Answer: No. As indicated in answer #3, thermography (granulated ink) is the required method for New York State tests. It has been found to be particularly suitable for our test graphics and is familiar to students.
- Question: Regarding the M/WBE portion, no subcontracting is allowed – correct? We are to only try in “good faith” to use M/WBE suppliers – correct?
Answer: As referenced in the RFP, subcontracting will not be allowed for this contract. For this RFP, M/WBE compliance goals can be achieved by completing and submitting the M/WBE Supplier Form located in the Submission Documents. (For details, see Page 3 of this RFP.) All bidders must document "good faith efforts" to comply with the M/WBE goals. For a list of certified firms for review and selection, contact NYSED’s M/WBE coordinator at email@example.com or 518-486-6883.
- Question: We currently do not use any suppliers from NY who are M/WBE NY certified. Do we need to identify suppliers that are NY M/WBE for the purpose of this bid?
Answer: The M/WBE suppliers do not have to be from New York, but must be certified as M/WBE with the NYS Division of Minority and Women Business Development before any work can begin on the contract, as stated on RFP page 3. The contact person on M/WBE matters is available throughout the application and procurement process to assist bidders in meeting the M/WBE goals and provide a list of certified firms for your review and selection.