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Topic: Would You Trust Your Child to This Corporation?
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
Would You Trust Your Child to This Corporation?
Posted: Jul 14, 2014 6:28 PM
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From Diane Ravitch's blog, Monday, July 14, 2014. See
Pearson Errors: Would You Trust Your Child to This Corporation?

By Diane Ravitch

Pearson, the British megacorporation, appears to have won the PARCC
Common Core contract, which is worth about $1 billion. Its tests will
be administered to 6-10 million children in 14 states.

The third grade tests will take eight hours. The high school tests
will take 10 hours.

PARCC is also developing tests for kindergarten, first and second grades.

FAIRTEST has compiled a catalogue of known Pearson errors: PEARSON'S

Compiled by Bob Schaeffer
Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing

Updated May 5, 2014

1998 California - test score delivery delayed

1999-2000 Arizona - 12,000 tests misgraded due to flawed answer key

2000 Florida - test score delivery delayed resulting in $4 million fine

2000 Minnesota - misgraded 45,739 graduation tests leads to lawsuit
with $11 million settlement - judge found "years of quality control
problems" and a "culture emphasizing profitability and cost-cutting."
(FairTest consulted with plaintiffs' attorneys)

2000 Washington - 204,000 writing WASL exams rescored

2002 Florida -- dozens of school districts received no state grades
for their 2002 scores because of a "programming error" at the DOE.
One Montessori school never received scores because NCS Pearson
claimed not to have received the tests.

2005 Michigan -- scores delayed and fines levied per contract

2005 Virginia -- computerized test misgraded - five students awarded
$5,000 scholarships

2005-2006 SAT college admissions test - 4400 tests wrongly scored; $3
million settlement after lawsuit (note FairTest was an expert witness
for plaintiffs)

2007-2011 Mississippi - subcontractor programs correct answer as
incorrect resulting in erroneous results for almost four years during
which time 126 students flunked the exam due to that wrongly scored
item. Auditors criticized Pearson's quality control checks, and the
firm offered $600,000 in scholarships as compensation

2008 South Carolina --"Scoring Error Delays School Report Cards" The
State, November 14, 2008

2008-2009 Arkansas -- first graders forced to retake exam because
real test used for practice

2009-2010 Wyoming - Pearson's new computer adaptive PAWS flops; state
declares company in "complete default of the contract;" $5.1 million
fine accepted after negotiations but not pursued by state governor

2010 Florida - test score delivery delayed by more than a month -
nearly $15 million in fines imposed and paid.

2010 Minnesota -- results from online science tests taken by 180,000
students delayed due to scoring error

2011 Florida - some writing exams delivered to districts without
cover sheets, revealing subject students would be asked to write

2011 Florida - new computerized algebra end-of-course exam delivery
system crashes on first day of administration

2011 Oklahoma - "data quality issues" cause "unacceptable" delay in
score delivery --

Pearson ultimately replaced by CTB/McGraw Hill

2011 Guam - score release delayed because results based on flawed
comparison data; government seeks reimbursement --

2011 Illinois - 144 student in five Chicago schools wrongly received
zeroes due to scoring error. The state sought nearly $1.7 million
from Pearson, which could not explain how the errors occurred.

2011 Iowa - State Ethics and Campaign Finance Disclosure Board opens
investigation of Iowa Education Department director Jason Glass for
participating in all-expenses-paid trip to Brazil sponsored by
Pearson Foundation --

2011 New York - Attorney General Eric Schneiderman subpoenas
financial records from Pearson Education and Pearson Foundation
concerning their sponsorship of global junkets for dozens of state
education leaders --

2011 Oklahoma - State identifies 18 significant problems with
Pearson's tests leading to $8 million penalty settlement.

2011 Wyoming - Board of Education replaces Pearson as state's test
vendor after widespread technical problems with online exam

2012 New York - "Pineapple and the Hare" nonsense test question
removed from exams after bloggers demonstrate that it was previously
administered in at least half a dozen other states -

2012 New York - More than two dozen additional errors found in New
York State tests developed by Pearson --

2012 Florida - After percentage of fourth grades found "proficient"
plunges from 81% to 27% in one year, state Board of Education
emergency meeting "fixes" scores on FCAT Writing Test by changing
definition of proficiency.

2012 Virginia - Error on computerized 3rd and 6th grade SOL tests
causes state to offer free retakes.

2012 New York - Parents have their children boycott "field test" of
new exam questions because of concerns about Pearson's process

2012 Oklahoma - After major test delivery delays, state replaces
Pearson as its testing contractor

2012 New York - More than 7,000 New York City elementary and middle
school students wrongly blocked from graduation by inaccurate
"preliminary scores" on Pearson tests

2012 New York - State officials warn Pearson about potential fines if
tests have more errors

2012 Mississippi - Pearson pays $623,000 for scoring error repeated
over four years that blocked graduation for five students and wrongly
lowered scores for 121 others

2012 Texas - Pearson computer failure blocks thousands of students
from taking state-mandated exam by displaying error message at log on

2013 New York - Passages from Pearson textbooks appear in
Pearson-designed statewide test, giving unfair advantage to students
who used those materials

2013 New York - three Pearson test scoring mistakes block nearly
5,000 students from gifted-and-talented program eligibility

2013 Worldwide - Pearson VUE testing centers around the globe
experience major technical problems, leaving thousands unable to take
scheduled exams or register for new ones

2013 New York - Second error found in New York City
gifted-and-talented test scoring makes 300 more students eligible for
special programs

2013 England, Wales and Northern Ireland - General Certificate of
Secondary Education exam in math leaves out questions and duplicates
some others

2013 Texas - State Auditor finds inadequate monitoring of Pearson's
contract: vendor determined costs of assessment changes without
sufficient oversight and failed to disclose hiring nearly a dozen
former state testing agency staff

2013 Virginia - 4,000 parents receive inaccurate test scorecards due
to Pearson error in converting scores to proficiency levels

2013 New York - New Pearson Common Core textbooks are "full of
errors," including in sample test items

2013 New York - Pearson fined $7.7 million by New York State for
using its non-profit foundation arm to steer business to the firm

2014 National - Pearson notifies students who took the Miller
Analogies Test (MAT) in 2011 that their exams had been miscored

2014 Florida - State education commissioner seeks penalties after
schools in 26 counties suspend Pearson's new computerized tests
because server problems prevent students from logging on and freeze

2014 New York - Printing errors result in missing questions and blank
pages in Pearson-designed statewide math assessment
2014 Texas - Pearson emails out two test questions to teachers days
before the exam is administered

If you have questions or additional examples, contact Bob Schaeffer.
Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing

office - (239) 395-6773
fax - (239) 395-6779
mobile - (239) 696-0468
web -

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