Jamie Dangler of United University Professions informed me that her association had filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Pearson’s contract to assess incoming teachers. The initial response was a copy of a contract that was 75% redacted. They tried again and most of the redactions were gone.  They were shocked to learn that the state pays Pearson nothing to develop or administer the exams; Pearson profits when students fail and take the exam repeatedly.

She writes:

“We received a nearly clean copy of the New York State Education Department’s teacher certification exam contract with Pearson, Inc.

“It wasn’t easy to get. We filed a FOIL request that initially produced a copy of the contract that was nearly 75 percent blacked out. We appealed and then began to pursue legal action. We finally got a copy with less than 3 pages blacked out.
“Here’s a major problem we are concerned about and legislation we’re proposing to address it.

“The Pearson contract reveals that New York State did not pay Pearson to develop and administer its teacher certification exams. Instead, all of Pearson’s payment and profits are made from student exam fees. This means Pearson has little incentive to fix flawed exams, since they profit when students take and retake their exams. We have four new teacher certification requirements in New York State administered by Pearson. One of them is the edTPA and the others are exams. There are many content and computer format problems with the exams and lots of problems with the edTPA. Students can spend up to $1,000 or more to take and retake these exams.

“As part of our 2016 NYS legislative initiatives, UUP is calling for a change in the state’s procurement law that would stop Pearson and other for-profit testing companies from making a profit off of teacher candidates by charging—and recharging—them fees to take mandatory exams.

“Here’s a link to a story about this on our website: http://uupinfo.org/communications/uupdate/1516/160126.php
“Here’s a link to the Pearson contract: http://uupinfo.org/committees/pdf/teached/NCSPearsonContractDec2015.pdf

Jamie Dangler, PhD

Vice President for Academics

Teacher Education Task Force chair

United University Professions