SOME FRIENDLY COMPETITION: On May 18, Texas Education Agency (TEA) offered most of a new statewide testing contract to Pearson’s rival, Education Testing Service (ETS). Under the proposed contract, TEA will pay ETS $280 million to administer the majority of STAAR tests, or the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, over the next four years. TEA will still pay Pearson around $60 million to administer tests to students with special learning needs, Spanish-language tests, and the remaining tests from TAKS, the program which STAAR replaced.
Before this year, TEA had awarded Pearson every contract since it started state testing over 30 years ago. According to the Dallas News, Texans are responding to the change with mixed reviews, lauding an end to Pearson’s “monopoly hold” but also acknowledging that “the issues that people have with the testing regime are vendor agnostic.”