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A Note on the Pearson Site About Louisiana, and Details on the Official PARCC Contract

December 8, 2014

The purpose of the Partnership for Assessment of College and Careers (PARCC) consortium was to produce common assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

PARCC had to decide upon a testing company to develop and administer the PARCC common assessments. The PARCC states decided that New Mexico would be responsible for issuing the Request for Proposals (RFP) for PARCC common assessments. Only one testing company applied: Pearson.

On May 1, 2014, New Mexico awarded Pearson the PARCC common assessments contract on behalf of the PARCC consortium. A copy of that 103-page “operational assessments” contract can be found here. It is effective from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2018.

Pearson is the official vendor for the PARCC common assessments. Period.

For a summary of purpose and services, see page 23 of the contract. Here is an excerpt:

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a consortium of states working together to develop a common set of assessments in English Language Arts (ELA)/Literacy and Mathematics aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The PARCC assessments were developed, and will be field tested in 2013-14 under a separate contract. The operational tests will be ready for states to administer during the 2014-15 school year. This SOW (Statement of Work) establishes six components of the services that Contractor will provide for the first operational assessment in Fall 2014, and additional assessment development services for future operational administration. The term of this SOW shall be from the date of execution of the Price Agreement through June 30, 2018.

The Six Components of this SOW include: (1) Test Development; (2) Assessment Administration; (3) Psychometric Services; (4) Reporting; (5) Standard Setting, and (6) Program Management.

Pearson is the vendor for the PARCC common assessments.

A few highlights from the Pearson PARCC contract:

Pearson is responsible for item development; however, the PARCC consortium committees can periodically review items (see page 25).

PARCC offers initial cut score suggestions that can be modified and must be approved by the PARCC consortium (see page 42).

Detailed payment schedules begin on page 70.

I have written two posts on Louisiana’s not belonging to this official Pearson-led PARCC common assessment effort (see here and here).

Today, I found a message posted at the bottom of one of the Pearson PARCC web pages. It seems to be a memo for Pearson reps assisting callers. It is found at the bottom of this this link.

The message reads like a Post-it note to address inquiries about Louisiana’s involvement in PARCC:

CONFIRM that the caller is asking about PARCC Spring Calendar of Events
States participating in PARCC Spring Assessments:
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • DC
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana **See Note Below
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island

Louisiana will test PARCC but it will be through DRC, you may contact them at:

Louisiana Customer Service 1-888-718-4836​ or

The heading, “PARCC States Participating in Spring Assessments” is misleading. Both New York and Louisiana are not among the states involved in the 2014-15 Pearson-led PARCC common assessments.

New York has been open about its not choosing to be involved in the 2014-15 Pearson-led PARCC common assessments. It opted for other Pearson tests rather than the PARCC tests for 2014-15.

However, the point of the above message seems to be to steer Louisiana callers toward believing that Louisiana is somehow involved in PARCC– but through another testing vendor, Data Recognition Corp (DRC).

“If Louisiana calls, tell them they are still PARCC even though they will administer tests through a separate, non-official PARCC vendor.”

This nonsense defies the purpose of PARCC as leading to “common assessments” among PARCC member states.

DRC can only deliver its own version of CCSS assessments to Louisiana. There is nothing “common” about this arrangement, no matter how much one uses the term “Louisiana PARCC tests” to try to conceal the matter from the public.

And there can be no rigging the DRC contract to somehow graft Louisiana into the official Pearson-led PARCC common assessments. Louisiana’s contract with DRC does not allow for DRC to get paid as a middle man– which is what would have to happen if DRC “delivered” Pearson PARCC to Louisiana.

In such a blatantly illegal arrangement, Louisiana would have to somehow pay both DRC and Pearson.

The Pearson wording above– that “Louisiana will test PARCC… through DRC” doesn’t even make sense. PARCC common assessments are supposed to test CCSS. PARCC does not “test itself.”

This seems like a shoddy effort for Pearson to “help” the PARCC consortium look like it has more common assessment member states than it actually has in 2014-15.

Pearson is the PARCC-consortium-selected official vendor of the PARCC common assessments.

Louisiana does not have a contract with Pearson to be involved in the official PARCC common assessments.

All roads are leading back to this truth.


Like my writing? Read my ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education


  1. New York will not be using PARCC in 2014-15. Regents have been very quiet about PARCC in 2015-16 because of the large testing revolt in the Empire State. PARCC is possible in the future because voter approval of a boondoggle School Technology Bond,

  2. Diane Long permalink

    I don’t understand why I was led to believe that Louisiana was in fact contractually committed to PARCC. Could you let ne know when you found this out and how you found out.
    Diane Long

    • Diane, I found out in June when Jindal’s Division of Administration suspended White’s use of the testing contract. Pearson had just been awarded the PARCC contract, and White was trying to use a contract with DRC to get us into PARCC- which means DRC would have had to be a paid middle man (illegal).

      In August, when the court declared that White/BESE could use their DRC contract, White fed the assumption that this meant Louisiana would be administering PARCC. Problem was La still had no contract with PARCC test vendor Pearson.

  3. Mercedes, At a recent BESE meeting, I recall John White saying that PARCC would be willing to “loan items” to Louisiana. To quote John White at the December BESE meeting, Louisiana does not have a contract with Pearson. He stated that the 2015 assessments would be addressed via Data Recognition Corporation (DRC).

    In fact, I made mention of an email I received in which it was noted that as of October 29, 2014, Louisiana “is currently not on the roster for participation in the PARCC Assessment.” :My guess is as follows based on the comments in your post: PARCC will funnel items through the DRC or DRC will provide PARCC-like items.

    • Lottie, no matter what he does it is a farce and cannot be compared to the official PARCC test.

      Also, the PARCC contract via Pearson states that Pearson is to develop the PARCC items. Do you believe Pearson will not demand payment for any such “service”?

  4. Reblogged this on deutsch29 and commented:

    Updated– now including Pearson’s PARCC contract.

  5. Deb Herbage permalink

    DRC is AIR’s partner and “go to” company. States who have signed on with AIR/SBAC also got DRC because AIR outsources most of their contracts to DRC like they did here in FL, DE, ND and other states. I can post a link for you when I have access to my files. AIR wrote the test for SBAC and also wrote the “special adaptive algorithm” for SBAC and brags in our (FL) contract they wrote and developed the special process for “machine scored contructed responses” that they claim can measure a students knowledge and depp thinking as well as critical thinking. I find that to be absurd. They aslo admitted in the FL ocntract that they used “RESEARCH” in the test question construction. They alsto stated they can “provide the inference that students are college and career ready” – INFERENCE?? They can’t state what “college and career ready” is. The whole thing is a scam.

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