FAIRTEST has warned about the misuse of standardized testing for
years. As an organization, it serves an invaluable purpose and
exists on a shoe string. It should be funded by Gates, Broad, and
Walton. Instead it is funded by you. Here is FAIRTEST’s chronology
of Pearson’s testing errors over the years.


compiled by Bob Schaeffer, Public
Education Director

FairTest: National Center for Fair
& Open Testing

Update August 14,

California – test score delivery

Arizona – 12,000 tests misgraded due to flawed
answer key

Florida – test score delivery delayed resulting
in $4 million fine

Minnesota – misgraded 45,739 graduation tests
leads to lawsuit with $11 million settlement – judge found “years
of quality control problems” and a “culture emphasizing
profitability and cost-cutting.”

FairTest consulted with plaintiffs’ attorneys)

2000 Washington
– 204,000 writing WASL exams rescored

2002 Florida — dozens of
school districts received no state grades for their 2002 scores
because of a “programming error” at the DOE. One Montessori school
never received scores because NCS Pearson claimed not to have
received the tests.

2005 Michigan — scores delayed and
fines levied per contract

2005 Virginia — computerized test
misgraded – five students awarded $5,000 scholarships http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_8014/is_20051015/ai_n41291590/

2005-2006 SAT college
admissions test
– 4400 tests wrongly scored; $3 million
settlement after lawsuit (note FairTest was an expert witness for

South Carolina –“Scoring Error Delays School
Report Cards” The State, November 14, 2008

2008-2009 Arkansas
first graders forced to retake exam because real test used for
Wyoming – Pearson’s new computer adaptive PAWS
flops; state declares company in “complete default of the
contract;” $5.1 million fine accepted after negotiations but not
pursued by state governor

2010 Florida
test score delivery delayed by more than a month – nearly $15
million in fines imposed and paid. School superintendents still
question score accuracy —

2010 Minnesota
– results from online science tests taken by 180,000
students delayed due to scoring error http://www.twincities.com/ci_15533234?nclick_check=1#

2011 Florida
some writing exams delivered to districts without cover sheets,
revealing subject students would be asked to write about http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/testing/testmaker-pearson-replaces-faulty-fcats-missing-cover-sheets/1153508

2011 Florida
new computerized algebra end-of-course exam delivery system crashes
on first day of administration http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2011-05-17/features/os-algebra-test-pearson-problems-20110517_1_tests-algebra-high-schools

2011 Oklahoma
“data quality issues” cause “unacceptable” delay in score delivery

Pearson ultimately replaced by CTB/McGraw Hill

2011 Guam –
score release delayed because results based on flawed
comparison data; government seeks reimbursement — http://www.guampdn.com/article/20111021/NEWS01/110210303

2011 Iowa
State Ethics and Campaign Finance Disclosure Board opens
investigation of Iowa Education Department director Jason Glass for
participating in all-expenses-paid trip to Brazil sponsored by
Pearson Foundation — http://news.yahoo.com/formal-complaint-against-iowa-education-chief-190455698.html

2011 New York
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman subpoenas financial records from
Pearson Education and Pearson Foundation concerning their
sponsorship of global junkets for dozens of state education leaders

2011 Wyoming
Board of Education replaces Pearson as state’s test vendor after
widespread technical problems with online exam

2012 New York
“Pineapple and the Hare” nonsense test question removed from exams
after bloggers demonstrate that it was previously administered in
at least half a dozen other states –

2012 New York –
More than two dozen additional errors found in New York State tests
developed by Pearson — http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304203604577394492500145150.html

2012 Florida
After percentage of fourth grades found “proficient” plunges from
81% to 27% in one year, state Board of Education emergency meeting
“fixes” scores on FCAT Writing Test by changing definition of
proficiency. http://www.clickorlando.com/news/Passing-score-lowered-for-FCAT-Writing-exam/-/1637132/13396234/-/k1ckc2z/-/index.html

2012 Virginia
Error on computerized 3rd and
6th grade SOL tests causes state to offer
free retakes. http://www.newsplex.com/home/headlines/Error_on_SOL_Reading_Test_Gives_Students_Option_to_Retake_154191285.html

2012 New York
Parents have their children boycott “field test” of new exam
questions because of concerns about Pearson’s process http://rochesterhomepage.net/fulltext?nxd_id=322122

2012 Oklahoma –
After major test delivery delays, state replaces Pearson
as its testing contractor http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=19&articleid=20120714_19_A1_Afters391504

2012 New York
More than 7,000 New York City elementary and middle school students
wrongly blocked from graduation by inaccurate “preliminary scores”
on Pearson tests

2012 New York
State officials warn Pearson about potential fines if tests have
more errors http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/fines-bad-questions-state-tests-article-1.1187220

Mississippi – Pearson pays $623,000 for scoring
error repeated over four years that blocked graduation for five
students and wrongly lowered scores for 121 others http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20121025/NEWS01/310240052/Pearson-North-America-scoring-error-prevented-5-Mississippi-students-from-graduating-affected-121-others

2012 Texas
Pearson computer failure blocks thousands of students from taking
state-mandated exam by displaying error message at log on http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local-education/computer-glitch-prevents-some-texas-students-from-/nTMCP/

2013 New York
Passages from Pearson textbooks appear in Pearson-designed
statewide test, giving unfair advantage to students who used those
materials http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/practice-material-found-upstate-exams-article-1.1321448

2013 New York
Pearson makes three test scoring mistakes blocking nearly 5,000
students from gifted-and-talented program eligibility http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/education/score-corrections-qualify-nearly-2700-more-pupils-for-gifted-programs.html

2013 Worldwide
– Pearson VUE testing centers around the globe experience major
technical problems, leaving thousands unable to take scheduled
exams or register for new ones http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2013/04/26/pearson-vue-test-centers-experience-major-problems

2013 New York
Second error found in New York City gifted-and-talented test
scoring makes 300 more students eligible for special programs http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/11/education/new-error-found-in-test-scoring-for-gifted-programs.html

2013 England, Wales and
Northern Ireland
– General Certificate of Secondary
Education exam in math leaves out questions and duplicates some
others http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10118879/Exam-board-apologises-over-GCSE-test-paper-blunder.html

2013 Texas
State Auditor finds inadequate monitoring of Pearson’s contract:
vendor determined costs of assessment changes without sufficient
oversight and failed to disclose hiring nearly a dozen former state
testing agency staff http://www.texastribune.org/2013/07/16/state-auditor-finds-testing-contract-oversight-lac/

2013 Virginia
4,000 parents receive inaccurate test scorecards due to Pearson
error in converting scores to proficiency levels