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Take the Pearson Test: See if you qualify for millions in tax breaks too!

May 21, 2013


 1. NJ is giving over $60 million in tax subsidies to the British-based test publishing giant Pearson, even though the company:

A. is sending over 500 jobs out of NJ to NYC

B. made profits of $1.4 billion last year

C. took advantage of a Hurricane Sandy tax break to reduce its 2012 tax bill by over $130 million.

D. all of the above


2. Pearson has a contract to create new “common core” tests for NJ schoolchildren that will:

A. dramatically increase the amount of testing in NJ schools

B. be much harder than current tests and cause scores to fall sharply

C. be misused to rate teachers, close schools, and keep kids from graduating high school

D. all of the above


3. Starting next January, Pearson is taking over the GED exam that many people depend on to get an alternative HS diploma. Under Pearson, the GED will:

A. be much more expensive to take

B. be much harder to pass

C. only be available on computers

D. all of the above


4. Pearson has profitable new deals in NJ which:

A. will increase sales of Pearson products in the state-run Newark school district

B. will send millions in Rutgers tuition payments to Pearson for expanded online courses

C. seek to replace public schools with cyberscam “virtual schools” through its Connections Academy

D. all of the above


5. Pearson has:

A. financial and management ties to the rightwing corporate think tank, ALEC

B. given free, luxury trips to public officials in several states that have Pearson contracts

C. used corporate logos and promotional material in its tests

D. all of the above


6. Pearson’s long history of testing errors include:

A. Scoring errors that kept thousands of students from promotion, graduation, or special programs

B. computer failures that prevented students from completing its tests

C. millions in fines and cancelled contracts for failure to deliver services as promised

D. all of the above


7. The new tests Pearson is creating for NJ students beginning in 2015:

A. must be given on computers many schools don’t have

B. will keep the questions and answers secret from public review or scrutiny

C. will carry high stakes for NJ students, teachers & schools

D. all of the above


Sources. (D is the correct answer to all questions.)

Question #1

A. Sweetener’s Help NYC Land 628 jobs, Crain’s New York Business, September 11, 2011, Pearson and the Negotiations Behind its Hoboken Deal, New York Observer, 2/12/12

B & C. Pearson Rakes in the Profit, Alan Singer, Huffington Post, 3/19/13


Question #2

A-C Why Common Core tests won’t be what Arne Duncan promised, The Answer Sheet Blog, Washington Post, 4/2/13, Scores Drop on Ky.’s Common Core-Aligned Tests, Education Week, 11/2/12, Do Parents Really Want More Than 200 Separate State-Mandated Assessments for Their Children?, Huffington Post, 9/27/12


Question #3

A-C GED revamp sparks anxiety, Crain’s New York Business, 8/12/12, GED to undergo major changes, The Daily Progress, 12/25/12


Question #4

A. Pearson Launches New Curriculum Material Purchasing System with Newark Public Schools, Pearson press release 5/26/10

B. Rutgers signs deal with Pearson eCollege to increase online degree programs,, 1/18/13

C. Apollo exits Connections Education via $400M sale to Pearson, The Deal Pipeline, 9/15/11, Profits and Questions at Online Charter Schools, NY Times, 12/12/11

Question #5

A. Pearson, ALEC, and the Brave New (Corporate) World, United Opt Out

B. Free Trips Raise Issues for Officials in Education, NY Times, 10/9/11

C. Products in kid exams, NY Post, 4/18/13, Eighth grader: What bothered me most about new Common Core test, The Answer Sheet, Washington Post, May 8, 2013


Question #6

A-C. A brief history of Pearson’s problems with testing, The Answer Sheet, Washington Post,


Question #7

A. Online Testing Is Coming to New Jersey Schools — Ready or Not, NJ Spotlight,  New Jersey Gets Glimpse of the State Tests of Tomorrow, NJ Spotlight

B. Why the public should see questions on new standardized tests, The Answer Sheet 4/26/13

C. The Coming Year in Education — Bigger Questions, Higher Stakes, NJ Spotlight, 1/2/13



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