The push to create tests aligned to the common-core standards has unleashed a massive flow of money throughout the assessment industry—and many of the biggest players are cashing in.
That’s one of the takeaways of a newly published story I put together for Education Week, an analysis that examines the tide of federal money emanating from the two main consortia of states that are crafting the exams. It highlights some of the biggest state-issued awards, too.
All told, those the two consortia have spent about $305 million in federal Race to the Top money on assessment contractors. The biggest beneficiaries of the prime contracts we’ve documented will be familiar to anybody acquainted with the testing industry: McGraw-Hill/CTB has won the most, $72.5 million, followed by Pearson, at $63 million, and ETS, with $42.6 million.
Other vendors hired to take on big common-core testing projects include Amplify ($20.5 million) and the American Insitutes for Research ($18.9 million), with WestEd, Measurement Incorporated, and others collecting their share, too.
Speaking of the AIR, the package of stories and graphics also includes a separate article profiling that test vendor’s rise to prominence within the industry and examining how the organization’s performance and tactics have brought it praise and criticism.
The federally funded testing contracts I wrote about do not include a separate, potentially huge pot of money that’s flowing directly from the 24 states that are either not giving consortium tests or are undecided about what tests they will give next spring.Those state contracts can be enormous: The AIR, for instance, recently won a $220 million contract for assesments in Florida.
The federal money pool also doesn’t include awards giving by states in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which are tasked with hiring their own companies to administer and score those exams.
Our Web team has created a nice interactive graphic—click on the orange rectangle, above, to see it in its full form—which offers a visual depiction of the money flow. Or, if you’re looking for a PDF-style version you can print and hang on your wall, we have that, too.
The awarding of contracts in the industry won’t end with these awards, of course. But hopefully our guide at least partly lifts the curtain on who’s making what, and how much they’re raking in.