Pearson Education has landed an $18.5 million contract with the state to score TNReady assessments this year, reports The Tennessean. The previous vendor company had been fired and state officials took advantage of a law that says the state can enter into non-competitive bidding in cases of emergencies arising from any unforeseen cause.
“After we terminated the contract with Measurement Inc. on April 27, we began quickly collaborating with state central procurement in securing an emergency vendor,” said Education Commissioner Candice McQueen. “It is usually done with someone that has prior experience in the state.”
Pearson previously administered the state’s standardized tests from 2003-14 and is used in Tennessee for an optional test in kindergarten through second grade.
“Pearson, known for scoring NAEP (The National Assessment of Educational Progress) for three decades, is currently partnering with 25 states across the country, including Kentucky, Virginia, and Indiana,” McQueen said in a letter to schools directors.
The company was also set to be the state’s test vendor through the PARCC Consortium, which administers a Common Core State Standards-aligned test, before lawmaker backlash led to the five-year, $108 million contract with Measurement Inc.
But that move didn’t work out for the state after Measurement Inc.’s online testing platform in February couldn’t meet the testing demand. The state switched to paper tests, but the company then couldn’t deliver all of the materials needed.
The state canceled its contract with the company in April and has paid about $1.6 million of the contract for the company to develop the tests. The state was expected to pay about $30 million of the $108 million contract with Measurement Inc. to score tests.
“The state budgeted a total of $30 million for Measurement Inc. this year; therefore at this point, we anticipate being well under budget on assessment (costs),” Department of Education spokeswoman Ashley Ball said in an email.
Note: A Department of Education handout on Pearson’s scoring process is HERE. An email sent by Education Commissioner Candice McQueen to school directors across the state, as provided to media by her office, is below. Continue reading