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For Immediate Release
October 4, 2006

ISBE Awards contract to Pearson Educational Measurement for ISAT administrative services

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today awarded a contract to Pearson Educational Measurement (PEM) for administrative services for the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) beginning in spring 2007. The board's vote follows problems that arose in the spring 2006 testing cycle when Harcourt Assessment, Inc. (HAI) did not deliver tests and answer documents to schools on time, and produced tests that included printing and collation errors.

"With today's action we are taking an important step to move past this year's problems with delivery of tests to our schools," said ISBE Chairman Jesse Ruiz. "While the test itself received high praise, there were major problems in the delivery process. We had to take action to make sure that didn't happen again. We look forward to working hand in hand with Pearson so that Illinois schools get next year's tests on time and that the whole process goes smoothly."

In a special meeting, the board unanimously voted to award the contract to PEM for the following services connected with ISAT:

  • ISAT printing
  • test distribution
  • test retrieval
  • providing raw scores from multiple choice and open response test questions to Harcourt Assessment Inc. for final scoring
  • providing on-line services for review for demographic data and score review
  • preparing printed reports of assessment results for students and schools
  • and providing data disks of report results to school districts.

"We're delighted to be working with Illinois again. We were involved with the state's first statewide assessment in 1988, and we have worked with Illinois schools for over fifty years," said Douglas Kubach, president and CEO of Pearson Educational Measurement. "We're looking forward to applying our resources and quality processes to the ISAT in 2007 and beyond."

Pearson Educational Measurement was founded by the University of Iowa in 1953 as the Measurement Research Center, where assessment pioneer E. F. Lindquist founded the Iowa Testing Programs and developed the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) technology and data collection services that are still used today for scoring assessments. National Computer Systems (NCS) acquired the business in 1983. In 2000, Pearson acquired NCS. Pearson is part of the U.S. Assessments and Testing businesses of Pearson Education. These businesses provide assessment products, services and technology solutions to customers in education, government, health care and business settings.

ISBE and PEM will begin work immediately for the 2007 testing cycle. The initial term of agreement between ISBE and PEM is through September 2009 for a maximum amount of $32.9 million. The ISAT measures individual student achievement relative to the Illinois Learning Standards. The results give parents, teachers, and schools one measure of student learning and school performance.

Last month ISBE awarded the contract for administrative services for the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) to ACT beginning in the 2007 testing cycle. The PSAE measures the achievement of grade 11 students relative to the Illinois Learning Standards for reading, mathematics, and science.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777