New student assessment vendor to cost $93 million over five years

Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn listens to members of the Partnership Network Advisory Board as they discuss the agenda during a meeting March 7 in the Hamilton County Schools Board Room in Chattanooga.

NASHVILLE - The newest vendor tasked with overseeing Tennessee's student assessment test will cost the state roughly $93 million over the next five years.

Last month, Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn announced the state intends to award the assessment contract to London-based testing company Pearson. But Schwinn and the department didn't immediately release details about the contract - including how much it would cost.

According to records released Friday by the Department of General Services, Pearson's application estimated it'll cost $20.1 million to administer the test - known as TNReady - for the 2019-2020 school year. From there, the annual costs will lower, with the 2020-2021 school year costing $19.8 million and eventually $17.3 million by 2023-204.

The state is expected to finalize its contract negotiations with Pearson by Thursday. Pearson, a testing giant that has assessment contracts across the country, will be the third vendor to administer the test in five years.