Education giant, Pearson is bragging to potential investors about how well they did last year, and how well they expect to do next year. While admitting that “state funding pressures and the transition to Common Core assessments continued to make market conditions tough for our state assessment and teacher testing businesses,” Pearson still had this to say about their success in the United States:
- The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a consortium of 23 states, awarded Pearson and Educational Testing Service (ETS) the contract to develop test items that will be part of the new English and mathematics assessments to be administered from the 2014-2015 school year. The assessments will be based on what students need to be ready for college and careers, and will measure and track their progress along the way.
- We continued to produce strong growth in secure online testing, an important market for the future. We increased online testing volumes by more than 10%, delivering 6.5 million state accountability tests, 4.5 million constructed response items and 21 million spoken tests. We now assess oral proficiency in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Arabic and Chinese. We also launched the Online Assessment Readiness Tool for the PARCC and the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Common Core consortia to help 45 states prepare for the transition to online assessments.
- We won new state contracts in Colorado and Missouri and a new contract with the College Board to deliver ReadiStep, a middle school assessment that measures and tracks college readiness skills. We extended our contract with the College Board to deliver the ACCUPLACER assessment, a computer-adaptive diagnostic, placement and online intervention system that supports 1,300 institutions and 7 million students annually.
- We won five Race To The Top (RTTT) state deals (Kentucky, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina and New York) led by Schoolnet. PowerSchool won three state/province-level contracts (North Carolina, New Brunswick and Northwest Territories). We launched our mobile PowerSchool applications and grew our 3rd party partner ecosystem to over 50 partners. PowerSchool supports more than 12 million students, up more than 20% on 2011 while Schoolnet supports 8.3 million students, up almost 160% on 2011
- Pearson gained share in very tough market conditions, taking an estimated 31% of new adoptions where we competed. enVisionMATH continued to perform strongly, with a recent What Works Clearing House study showing that students using the programme out-performed peers by between six and eight percentiles in math across a broad range of student populations. iLit, our new digital reading intervention programme, was successfully implemented in 20 districts with early results showing strong reading gains.• Connections Education, which operates online K-12 schools in 22 states and a nationwide charter school programme, served more than 43,000 students in 2012, up 31% from 2011 and broadened its product offering to include virtual classrooms for public school campuses. Connections Academy Schools have consistently high performance ratings, particularly in states focused on measuring growth in student learning.
There’s obviously more in the prospectus released today, but Pearson’s snowballing market share shows they’ve almost become to big to fail. How much does Pearson owe Jeb Bush and his foundations for their success? Each of these new innovations from spin-off companies belonging to Pearson are touted by Bush and his foundations as the only way forward in education policy. The combination of the never doubted Bush with the expanding need to maintain Pearson’s profit margin is a marriage already spawning corruption. How bad is it going to get?