- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee has entered a contract with Pearson Education to have it score the TNReady assessments this year after the previous vendor was fired this spring.

The Tennessee Department of Education gave Pearson the $18.5 million job, avoiding a competitive bidding process because of a law that allows for the state to enter into non-competitive bidding in cases of emergencies arising from unforeseen causes, news outlets reported.

“Pearson was chosen as the vendor based on their capacity to move quickly in this unforeseen situation and complete scoring and reporting within the expedited time frame,” the state said in a letter to district leaders.

The state is still looking for a testing vendor to administer the state’s standardized tests next year.

The state announced in April that it had terminated its five-year contract with Measurement Inc. after the company failed to have the test ready to be taken online and then experienced delays distributing paper tests to schools.

The state was expected to pay about $30 million of the $108 million contract with Measurement Inc. to score tests.

“At this point, we anticipate being well under budget on assessment (costs),” Department of Education spokeswoman Ashley Ball told The Tennessean (https://tnne.ws/1V7SbpQ ) in an email.

This was the first year of TNReady assessments replacing the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program or TCAP, tests which Pearson had administered from 2003-14. Pearson is also the current vendor for the SAT-10 test, an optional test in grades K-2.

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