Magazine article District Administration

Competition among Assessment Companies Tests the Industry

Magazine article District Administration

Competition among Assessment Companies Tests the Industry

Article excerpt

Testing companies find themselves competing on a tougher playing field for state assessment contracts after a rocky first round of Common Core exams spurred new expectations from state and district education leaders.

In the past year, Pearson has lost testing contracts in Florida (to American Institutes for Research, or AIR), Texas (to Educational Testing Service, or ETS), Ohio (to AIR), and, most recently, New York (to Questar Assessment Inc.), according to each state's department of education.

McGraw-Hill Education/CTB announced in June that it is ending its high-stakes standardized testing business and selling its testing assets to Data Recognition Corporation. Nevada signed with Data Recognition in August, after parting ways with testing company Measured Progress, which paid the state a $1.3 million settlement after technical issues prevented two--thirds of students from successfully completing annual state English and math exams.

"Every testing company with a major contract has had problems, in part because politicians have demanded that they design and implement broad-scale, computerized testing systems far more quickly than technology professionals believe is possible," says Bob Schaeffer, public education director at the National Center for Fair & Open Testing. "Now politicians believe if they just replace the current contractor, they will find somebody who will do the job right."

Questions about test quality and long waits for results have led some states to make a change, Schaeffer says. …

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