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Educational Service Providers - Provider Detail

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Cognia (formerly AdvancED | Measured Progress)

Contact Information


Margie McCaw, Ph.D., VP, Proposals
9115 Westside Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30009-8000

Phone: (603) 749-9102, ext. 7351


Gaye Humphrey, MBA, Proposal Manager
9115 Westside Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30009-8000

Phone: (678) 392-2285, ext. 5662

General Information

Screenshots / Demo:
Effectiveness Data:
Type of Organization: Other
School Improvement Organization
Organization is best described as: Non-Profit
Age of Firm / Number of Years in Operation: 100+
Level(s) services may be provided: - Elementary
- Middle
- High School
- District
Provides performance guarantees in contract: NO
Educational Services Provided Diagnostic Review

Name of Schools/ Districts that this organization has served in Colorado:

Westminster Public Schools
6933 Raleigh Street
Westminster, CO 80030
Contact: Dr. Pamela Swanson, District Superintendent
Phone: (720) 542-5091

Recent References:

Kentucky Department of Education
Office of Continuous Improvement and Support
300 Sower Boulevard, 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
Contact: Dr. Kelly Foster, Deputy Superintendent
Phone: (502) 564-5130

South Carolina Department of Education
Office of School Transformation
604C Rutledge Building
1429 Senate Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Contact: Tina Jamison, External Review Coordinator
Phone: (803) 734-3397

Name of Schools/ Districts that this organization has served in other states:

Allendale County Schools
3249 Allendale-Fairfax Highway
Fairfax, SC 29827
Contact: Dr. Margaret Gilmore, Superintendent
Phone: (803) 584-4603

Fleming County Schools
211 West Water Street
Flemingsburg, KY 41041
Contact: Dr. Brian Creasman, Superintendent
Phone: (606) 845-5851

Poplar Public Schools
400 4th Avenue West
Poplar, MT 59255
Contact: Mr. Dan Schmidt, Superintendent
Phone: (406) 720-0558

Qualifications of this Organization (licensure, trademark, etc.):

At Cognia we believe that knowledge is opportunity. We are a global network of enthusiastic educators here to help strengthen schools, so all students have the opportunities that knowledge brings. We support schools on their continuous improvement journey.

Informed by more than a century’s worth of classroom data and powered by a global network that reaches tens of millions of students, we’ve developed a holistic approach to education that empowers schools to create real outcomes and optimize learning. By setting meaningful standards and sharing actionable best practices, we help schools — and their learners — meet their potential. With our expertise in psychometric research, large-scale summative, district, and classroom assessment, and improvement solutions, we support educators in using data to drive systemic changes in school quality to bolster student success.

Cognia is the largest education improvement organization in the world, and we intentionally stand apart from other education service providers. We pride ourselves on being a trusted partner, not just a vendor. For more than 100 years, our dedicated staff, consultants, and volunteers have worked alongside educators at all levels of the education system to support continuous improvement and accreditation. Likewise, for more than 35 years, we have delivered high-quality assessment products and services in support of student learning and state accountability.

Our partnership can take many forms: from onsite evaluations and certifications, to student assessments, to strategic consulting and improvement roadmaps. This holistic approach is what sets us apart — helping educators connect the dots between school and student performance and drive better outcomes for all.

Cognia believes that every student, educator, and institution can be better tomorrow than they are today. We act on this belief by providing high-quality educational expertise, best practices, and solutions to educational institutions worldwide that share our passion for continuous learning and educational improvement.

Qualifications of Instructors/ Staff that Provide Services:

Deborah (Deb) Farrington
Senior Vice President, Professional Services

With more than 27 years of experience in public education, Deb has served as a classroom teacher, curriculum coordinator, school administrator, and strategic planner for school improvement at the state and district level. As an adjunct professor in the Education Department at the University of New Hampshire, Deb taught science methods courses and supervised student teachers earning their certification. Through her work at Measured Progress, Deb designed and delivered engaging professional development focused on formative assessment practices for numerous state and district programs. As the Director of District Assessment Services, Deb provided consultation and support for school leadership teams looking to develop customized, curriculum-aligned, formative assessment resources. Deb brings her expertise and passion for teaching and learning into her role as Senior VP of Professional Services. She remains deeply committed to providing high-impact professional learning that empowers educational leaders, increases student engagement, and supports continuous learning and improvement. Deb holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a Master of Education in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Design.

Maria Sells, Ph.D.
Vice President, Professional Services

Maria Sells leads, manages, monitors, supports, and ensures the quality of intensive support and improvement services. Maria has more than twenty years’ experience focusing on assisting schools and districts to achieve excellence through the development and implementation of successful turnaround initiatives, building leadership capacity, targeted professional development, data-driven decision making, and curriculum, instruction, and assessment alignment. Her experiences as a superintendent, assistant superintendent, principal, and director of special education span elementary, middle, and high school levels in both rural and urban settings. Her administrative experiences also include leading programs in general, adult, correctional, vocational, and special education. Maria has extensive experience as a mentor for beginning administrators through the Indiana Department of Education and for practicing administrators through the Indiana Principal Leadership Institute. In addition, Maria has experience as an adjunct professor in the School of Education Leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University where she teaches courses covering curriculum development, action research, school culture, resource management, and principal preparation internships.

Janet Hurt, Ph.D.
Director, Diagnostic Services

Janet Hurt provides leadership and support for all intensive support and improvement services. Prior to joining AdvancED, Janet served in a variety of roles, including associate professor, associate superintendent, assistant superintendent, principal, assistant principal, guidance counselor, teacher, scholastic audit team leader and project manager for the largest Race to the Top grant in the United States ($441,000,000). She has won several awards including the Tom Vest Professional Development award from the Kentucky Association of School Administrators and Outstanding Kentucky Guidance Program award. Janet co-developed the educational software, Lesson Plan Xpress and authored several articles and the book, Taming the Standards: A Commonsense Approach to Higher Student Achievement, K-12. She has served as a keynote speaker, professional development facilitator and invited guest speaker across the U.S. and internationally in cities such as Oxford, England and Beijing, China.


Pricing for diagnostic reviews varies based on the size of the school. The pricing tiers are as follows:

Schools with less than 500 students = $22,500
Schools with 500-1000 students = $24,000
Schools with 1,000-1,500 students = $25,500

Pricing includes an introduction to the diagnostic review process, the three-day on-site review led by a team of certified reviewers, a written report of the team’s findings, analysis of the results, and support to complete a school improvement plan. Pricing includes travel-related expenses for all facilitators and the diagnostic review team.

Explanation of how we are able to provide differentiated services to meet the individual needs of schools and districts.

Cognia employs a proven, research-based process for diagnostic reviews that takes into account deep understanding of local context. For each school, we carefully assess current effectiveness, determine what needs improvement, analyze the resulting data, and identify improvement priorities. We then work with the school to establish an individualized improvement plan to move the institution forward. Professional development is often a key part of the school improvement plan, and we customize services to meet the unique needs of each school. From half-day training sessions to long-term coaching relationships, our professional services are designed to help schools with every aspect of their continuous improvement journey.

How will we evaluate our services and support to schools and districts and its effectiveness in school/ district/ student achievement?

Indicators we look for and activities we employ to evaluate our services include:

o Regular check-ins throughout the school improvement engagement
o Post-engagement debriefs with school leaders and other stakeholders
o Formal client surveys
o School performance metrics
o Anecdotal data
o Working with clients to develop case studies
o Repeat engagements
o Client referrals

Sample of services offered for a school or district:

Under 500 Students:

For schools of all sizes, Cognia uses a four-pronged approach to diagnostic review. To pinpoint and address the root causes of underperformance, we:

• Assess current effectiveness. We carefully examine the extent to which the school has enacted effective policies, practices and conditions to maximize learner success.

• Determine what needs improvement. Using multiple sources of data and information, we gather and examine evidence of organizational effectiveness focusing on three areas: leadership capacity, learning capacity, and resource capacity.

• Establish an action plan. Our improvement coaches help schools analyze the resulting data and identify improvement priorities. This coaching support builds the capacity of the school leadership team to take the next steps.

• Train and implement. Following the diagnostic review, we offer a range of professional development services to help schools implement the identified improvement priorities.

Pricing for the diagnostic review varies by school size. The larger the school, the larger the review team and the more days the team may need to conduct the review. The pricing tiers are:

Under 500 students = $22,500
500-1000 students = $24,000
1,000-1,500 students = $25,500

500-1000 Students:

(See response above)

1000+ Students:

(See response above)

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