A new analysis of the education industry offers another glimpse of just how much the market for testing and asessment has surged in recent years, an upswing fueled partly by implementation of the common core, as well as by demands for formative assesement.
Data released by the Software & Information Industry Association, a Washington trade organization, show that the market for prekindergarten through grade 12 testing has grown by about 57 percent over two years ago, and now stands at an estimated $2.5 billion.
The research is based on information collected from a sampling of companies involved in testing, information that was then extrapolated across the entire assesment industry, said Karen Billings, the vice president of the education division at the SIIA.
The data was prepared for SIIA by John Richards, and Leslie Stebbins of Consulting Services for Education, Inc., and was released as part of a new series of small publications called “Behind the Data,” based on a broader pool of data that SIIA makes available at a cost. The most recent estimates of the testing and assesment market are from the 2012-2013 school year.
Despite the recent boon in testing, it’s likely that some of the growth in the industry will level off over the next few years, as states and districts settle into newly bought assessments, predicted Billings, basing that observation on what SIIA is hearing from companies.
“A lot of the purchases made are [for products] they’re going to use for a while,” she said.
In addition to the focus on aligning lessons and tests at all levels to the common core, and on formative assessment, the surge in the assessment market has also been driven by the availability of large amounts of data; new interest in “real-time” online assessments; and school officials’ desire to link tests to academic content with the goal of “personalizing” learning, according to the SIIA.
Many of those testing products, not surprisingly, are being developed for the online world, the SIIA noted. Overall, the testing industry is “leading the transition from print to digital,” the organization said.