Tennessee selects Pearson as new student testing vendor

Tennessee selects Pearson as new student testing vendor

May 30th, 2019 by Staff and Wire Reports in Breaking News

Tennessee Commissioner of Education Dr. Penny Schwinn delivers the keynote address during the 38th Annual SuperintendentÕs Honors Banquet at the Chattanooga Convention Center Monday, April 29, 2019, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Photo by Erin O. Smith /Times Free Press.

This story was updated Wednesday, May 30, 2019, at 7:43 p.m. with more information.

Tennessee has selected a new vendor to oversee its student assessment test for elementary and secondary students.

Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn announced Thursday that the state intends to award the vendor contract to London-based testing company Pearson.

The company bills itself as a leading provider of educational assessments in the U.S., currently providing large-scale assessment services in 15 states.

"In 2017, we delivered more than 37 million tests, and during our peak testing period we successfully delivered tests to 5.8 million learners in a single week," reads a statement on Pearson's website.

Details about the contract were not immediately available, including how much it'll cost the state each year, but the state had previously estimated it could cost $20 million each year.

Schwinn made the announcement while talking in front of the State Board of Education and did not disclose financial information about Pearson's bid.

In June, Schwinn announced a request for proposals in seeking a new testing vendor. The move came after a string of issues in April 2018 that led to the state announcing that the year's testing data would be questionable.

Legislators hurried a bill through the General Assemly that month to ensure that teachers would not be negatively impacted by the questionable results of the testing. Officials said technology issues surrounding a severed fiber optic cable and a plethora of other problems during the testing window were to blame.

"Teachers, students and families deserve a testing process they can have confidence in, and we are doing everything possible to meet that responsibility," McQueen said in a statement upon the announcement that the state was seeking a new testing vendor. "We are always committed to listening and improving, and we'll continue to do just that."

The state is expected to finalize its contract negotiations with Pearson by June 13.