- On Thursday, New York’s education department announced that it had dropped Pearson for its language arts and math testing in grades 3-8, awarded a contract to Questar Assessment Inc. to create new exams.
- The contract with Questar, a much smaller provider, is notably more expensive at $44 million, compared to the $32 million the state paid Pearson, though Chalkbeat notes that Questar will likely have to create computer-based exams alongside the traditional paper-and-pencil format.
- Meanwhile, Arkansas’ state board of education approved a new test produced by ACT to replace the PARCC exam, the development of which also heavily involved Pearson.
New York and Arkansas are the just latest states to take steps away from tests affiliated with Pearson. Earlier this week, Ohio announced it was replacing its PARCC tests with alternate exam provider AIR. The Arkansas state board had previously rejected an attempt to replace the PARCC tests, but Gov. Asa Hutchinson ordered officials to drop out of the PARCC consortium. Since 2011, 14 states have dropped the PARCC tests.
In the case of New York, the loss of the $32 million contract represents another major financial blow, as Pearson also lost its Texas account in May. That relationship had lasted for 15 years, during which the education giant reportedly raked in $1.18 billion to administer tests.
“The question is, when a new smaller company takes on a huge state contract, do they have the capacity to do it right?” Bob Schaeffer of the testing watchdog group FairTest, told Chalkbeat NY. For New York students, the change also means they’ll be taking the third new test in five years.