New York State is ditching Pearson as its test-maker after years of high-profile missteps, switching to a smaller vendor that will cost more but comes with less baggage, the State Education Department announced earlier this month.
The state awarded a new five-year deal to Questar Assessment Inc., a Minneapolis-based company that has emerged in recent years as a smaller competitor to Pearson, the dominant vendor in the country’s lucrative standardized testing market.
The switch allows the state to distance itself from Pearson, which has faced intense criticism for missteps and errors included in its New York tests and become symbolic of broader concerns about the privatization of public education.
The new $44 million contract, which was not released and is still under review by the state’s attorney general and comptroller, is more expensive than Pearson’s $32 million contract. But it likely includes a requirement to design computer-based exams for use in spring 2017 in addition to paper-and-pencil tests for third through eighth grades in math and English.