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Sources Sought Notice - DANTES Academic Skills Training (AST)

Virginia, United States
Government : Military
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Agency: Defense Human Reso urces Activity (DHRA)
Component: Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support ((DANTES)


REQUIREMENT: Academic Skills Training (AST)

1.    On behalf of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Education and Training (DASD FE&T), the Defense Human Resources Activity is issuing this Sources Sought Notice as a means of conducting market research to identify parties having an interest in, and the resources for, providing services in accordance with the draft Performance Work Statement (PWS).

The Government requires contractor services to improve the Department's capacity to deliver Academic Skills Training (AST) for service members needing to improve their academic readiness for the purposes of college-level course placement, qualification for reclassification or advance training (i.e. improving ASVAB test scores), and military advancement. This notice shall not be construed as a formal solicitation or an obligation on the part of the Government to acquire any products or services. In addition, it does not guarantee that a subsequent solicitation will be issued. Submission of any information in response to this Sources Sought notice is voluntary and will assist in selecting the appropriate solicitation type/method. Costs associated with any submission shall not be reimbursed by the Government. THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT SEEKING PROPOSALS AND WILL NOT ACCEPT UNSOLICITED PROPOSALS.

2.    The proposed NAICS for this effort is 611710, Educational Support Services (size standard $15M). Comments on this NAICS and suggestions for alternative codes must include supporting rationale.

3.    The Government is specifically performing Market Research to see if there are potential vendors who can provide the following:

The Contractor shall provide a commercially available, computer adaptive or artificial intelligence (AI) driven, online academic skills training course that improves cognitive (i.e. math, English language arts, science, and English as a second language), metacognitive, and non-cognitive academic skills from basic through pre-college level to support service member learning across the military lifecycle. The online academic skills training course shall be available on an unrestricted and continuous basis for all active duty, Reserve, and National Guard personnel and shall include:

•    A range of diagnostic, formative, interim, and summative assessments
•    Asynchronous instructional modules, organized into personalized learning pathways based on diagnostic assessments that build identified service member knowledge and identify skill gaps in academic areas
•    Remote, instructor-led courses that are recorded, archived, and accessible for users
•    Existing and/or open source video tutorials to reinforce learning

The contractor shall provide technical and management support that accompanies the web-based course that includes:

•    Learning cohorts guided by course mentors (cohorts that begin at least monthly)
•    A proactive early warning and response system to support course engagement and progression
•    Course mentor support for ad hoc remediation or skill enforcement
•    Approximately 10 annual onsite base visits by college and career readiness teams on military installations located within the Contiguous United States (CONUS)
•    Voluntary education workforce administration, reporting, and professional development support 


A. COVER SHEET - 1 page

1. Vendor name, address, website, Data Universal Numbering Systems (DUNS) Number, and Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code.

2. Point of contact to include e-mail address and telephone number.

3. Type of business, including socio-economic category (Large, Small, 8(a) Participant, Small Disadvantaged Business, HUBZone, Woman-Owned Small Business, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, or Non Profit)

4. If applicable, GSA contract number, schedule.


1. Please describe your organization's breadth of expertise/competency to respond to the draft PWS. Critical functions to be provided include:

•    Programs of Instruction- aligned to national models of basic academic skill improvement and college and career readiness standards in cognitive, meta-cognitive, and non-cognitive skill areas.

•    Assessments- that provide diagnostic, formative, interim, and summative data on learner's academic knowledge and skill level.

•    Instructional and Delivery Methods- that support various learning styles (i.e. self-directed asynchronous instruction, instructor-led synchronous learning, recorded instructor led sessions, integrates open source video support, etc.)

•    Learner Supports - which include learning cohorts, an early warning system, course mentors, engagement tools, and mobile college and career readiness teams.

•    Voluntary Education Workforce Support and Reporting - to enable monitoring and reporting of learner enrollments, progression, and engagement. This also includes the provision of administrator training, ongoing professional development through webinars and face-to-face training, and program outreach support.

•    Data Management and Information Technology Support - for all maintenance, sustainment, software, and hosting required for the training platform and courseware.

•    Program Management - support in terms of project management, stakeholder communication, risk management, configuration management, and reporting.

2. Industry feedback is requested on the PWS for this requirement. Please list any challenges or potential performance roadblocks related to fulfilling the PWS requirements and any suggestions for improving the PWS language. Additionally, the Government seeks answers to the following questions concerning this requirement. Please consider providing responses:

-    What is industry's capacity to execute the requirements? Specifically, 1) Is there a commercially available product that includes the programs of instruction and system requirements outlined in the PWS? If not, what level of effort and timeframe is needed to adapt a commercial product to include missing cognitive, meta-cognitive, and non-cognitive skills and/or system capabilities; 2) Is AI technology mature enough to replace virtual instructor led courses for the content areas listed? If so, please explain the capability. If not, please explain limitations.

-    Please articulate potential challenges and proposed mitigation strategies related to executing the PWS requirements.

-    The Government seeks to improve its capacity to deliver AST for service members needing to improve their academic readiness for the purposes of college-level course placement, qualification for reclassification or advance training (i.e. improving ASVAB test scores), and military advancement. With this in mind, are there additional capabilities and/or best practices from across the fields of developmental education, learning science, computer adaptive learning, and postsecondary education preparation that the Government should consider for inclusion in this requirement?

-    What additional information is needed, if any, from the Government to determine a technical solution and corresponding cost/price proposal. Request a non-binding, rough order of magnitude cost estimate (dollar range is acceptable) for performing the requirements of the attached PWS for a 60-month period of performance. Please differentiate if possible, any onetime costs from annual recurring costs (Assume that travel will be a reimbursable cost based on the annual locations selected by the Services.).

-    Please indicate willingness and ability to conduct an in-person or virtual demonstration of proposed technological solutions to a panel of government personnel.


Provide the following information on two (2) similar projects in an environment of similar scale completed within the last five (5) years for which the responder was a prime or Sub-Contractor.

1. The name and value of each project; 

2. The name, address, telephone and email address for point of contact; 

3. A description of each project, including challenges and successes; and 

4. Your company's role and services provided for each project.

All interested and capable contractors are encouraged to respond. Respondents will not be notified of the results of the sources sought evaluation. The results of this sources sought notice will assist the Contracting Officer in determining whether an 8(a), Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB), Certified HUBZone Small Business, Woman-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB), Small Business set-aside, or full and open competition is an acceptable strategy for this procurement. Responses to this synopsis may be used to aid in establishing realistic, achievable small business participation goals.

Interested contractors must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) in order to conduct business with the Government. Responders are advised that the U.S. Government will not pay for any information or administrative costs incurred in response to this Sources Sought; all costs associated with responding will be solely at the interested party's expense. All information received in response to this submission that is clearly marked Proprietary will be handled accordingly. Acknowledgement of receipt of responses will not be made and submissions to this Sources Sought will not be returned.

The information provided in this Sources Sought is subject to change and is not binding on the Government.


The Government requests that all responses be returned by 2:00 PM ET on 24 July 2019. All responses shall be submitted electronically to the DHRA Contracting Directorate (PK) point of contacts: and

Interested vendors may additionally contact the Small Business Point of Contact to discuss this requirement: Ms. Tammy Proffitt,, phone number: 571-372-2591.

Attachment: DRAFT PWS

Charles E. Mayfield, Contract Specialist, Email - Matthew C. Poole, Contracting Officer, Email

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