The Tennessee Department of Education has contracted with its previous test vendor Pearson Education in an emergency maneuver to score TNReady high school tests.
The contract with Pearson is only for scoring and reporting of 2015-2016 assessments, according to Education Commissioner Candice McQueen in a letter Monday to school directors statewide.
"Pearson, known for scoring NAEP (The National Assessment of Educational Progress) for three decades, is currently partnering with 25 states across the country, including Kentucky, Virginia, and Indiana," McQueen said in the letter. "In fact, Pearson developed, administered, and scored grades 3–8 tests and/or high school End of Course exams in Tennessee from 2003 through 2014."
Pearson is also used in Tennessee for an optional test in kindergarten through second grade, the letter states. And the company was also the vendor the state was going to use through the PARCC Consortium, which administers a Common Core State Standards-aligned test.
But lawmakers decided against using the consortium, which led to the five-year, $108 million contract with Measurement, Inc.
Tennessee was left without a vendor to score tests after McQueen canceled its contract with Measurement, Inc., which was used to develop TNReady tests statewide. The company's online testing platform in February couldn't meet the demand and the state switched to paper tests. But Measurement, Inc., couldn't deliver all of the materials needed, and the state canceled its contract with the company.
The state can hire Pearson because of a state law that allows non-competitive bidding in cases of emergencies arising from any unforeseen cause, according to McQueen's letter.