Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, July 10, 2015

New York Is Paying Both Pearson And Questar For State Tests Through June 2016 (UPDATED - 10:00 AM)

UPDATED - 10 AM: Correction made to post regarding amount of January 2015 contract extension - was $2.6 million, not $6 million.

Leonie Haimson caught this part of the state test deal:

Jon Campbell reported:

Pearson, which has developed the state’s grade 3-8 tests since 2011, was passed over for a new, five-year contract by the state Education Department, which announced Thursday it would award the $44 million deal to Minneapolis-based Questar Assessment Inc.


The Questar contract still has to be approved by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

The state’s current contract with Pearson runs through June 2016 after it was granted a short-term extension early this year, which pushed the contract total to $38 million. It was first signed in 2011.

So Pearson was granted a short-term extension at the beginning of the year, then NYSED signed a deal with Questar that runs concurrent with Pearson for one year.

The original contract was for $32 million.

The extension added a few million more to the deal.

NYSED paid Pearson $2,626,780 in January 2015 for the contract extension after paying them an additional $1,237,828 for "additional deliverables" in December 2014.

In total, Pearson got $6 million more than the original $32 million contract, with an additional $3,864,608 coming between December 2014 and January 2015.

Why was Pearson given an extension at the beginning of the year if the state was planning on dumping them later this year?

And why was Questar chosen?

Did anybody else bid for the contract?

Yes, but good luck finding out the details:

Four firms bid on the most recent contract, although the names of the other bidders weren't released on Thursday.

There was general relief around the state yesterday, from teachers and parents to the teachers union to reform organizations, that Pearson is out as the state test vendor.

The relief came in part from the statement by SED that teachers would be more involved in the creation of state tests under the Questar deal than they were with Pearson.

But given the lack of transparency around the Questar deal, the rumored problems with Questar itself (see here and here), and now the news that both Questar and Pearson are getting paid for the next year to make state tests, I'm not sure relief is the right emotion.

Someone at NYSED need to answer some questions:

Why was Pearson given an extension of the contract earlier this year that added $2.6 million to the contract if NYSED was planning on dumping them later in the year?

Why was Questar given a contract that starts paying out concurrent to the Pearson extension?

Who else bid on the contract and what were the figures?

Questar saw a 49.25% bump in trading yesterday.

Good for them and their stockholders.

But as for the tax payers of New York, as well as the students, parents and teachers, something smells rotten about this deal


  1. "Why was Pearson given an extension of the contract earlier this year that added $6 million to the contract if NYSED was planning on dumping them later in the year?" Love your writing but FYI... The extension until June 2016 gave Pearson an additional $2.6 million -- not $6 million.

    1. Thanks for the correction.

      State gave Pearson a total of $3,864,608 between 12/14 and 1/15.

      Will amend the post - but the question still stands.

      Why the extension in January?

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    3. Edited: My unsubstantiated guess is that King was on the brink of leaving, SED was in chaos, a new RFP had not been posted, the Pearson contract had only months left on it, and there was an "oh sh**" CYA moment. Then, the RFP was posted in February 2015. Remember, back in February, 200,000 refusals hadn't happened yet, Fred Smith and other testing experts had yet to unleash their scathing reviews of the Pearson tests, etc. It would be interesting to get hold of Pearson's proposal and compare it to Questar's. So... come to think of it... why would SED word the RFP to have the contract date begin in June/July 2015 when the Pearson contract had already been extended through June 2016????

  2. Will the Questar (3 - 8) tests be aligned to the Common Core? Anybody?

  3. Andy Cuomo, say it ain't so!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Where is this place. is this picture real or paint?school classes