Pearson has officially entered the world of Delaware standardized tests. On November 10th, NCS Pearson officially signed a contract with the Delaware Department of Education for a five-year contract worth $6 million to create and deliver the Social Studies state assessment. This contract will expire on December 31st, 2021. You won’t find any official news release from the Delaware DOE on this. I imagine many history teachers across the state will not be too happy to see this news. The Delaware DOE has used Pearson in the past as a vendor, but never for an official state assessment. With American Institutes for Research as the Smarter Balanced Assessment vendor for English Language Arts and Math, along with WestEd as the recent awarded vendor for Science, Pearson joins the Delaware state assessment crew.
The Social Studies state assessment will be given to students in 4th, 7th, and presumably 10th grade. This would follow the former Social Studies DCAS testing delivery method. Upon reading the contract, it looks like the field tests would begin next year with full implementation in those grades by the 2018-2019 school year.
I was not able to determine whether this test will be a once a year test or a “stealth test” based on the below contract. Delaware Secretary of Education Godowsky did mention the possibility of this assessment being a “stealth test”. Those kind of tests are delivered throughout the year in competency-based education environments. Until a student is considered to “master” the content, they do not move on until they do.
There has been recent talk in Delaware concerning the future of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Sources have indicated newly elected Governor John Carney may want to move away from the Smarter Balanced standardized test and may want to engage NWEA for the assessment provider for ELA and Math. But no matter who the vendor is or what kind of test it is, it would still be based on the Common Core State Standards. The Every Student Succeeds Act gives states the flexibility to choose their own standards for education, but the Delaware DOE already decided (without any input from stakeholders whatsoever) that Common Core is the way to go.
Pearson beat out American Institutes for Research, Measured Progress Inc., and Strategic Measurement and Evaluation, Inc. to win this contract.