Sunday, November 04, 2007


Intelligence Report | Parade Magazine | by Lyric Wallwork Winik, David Wallechinsky & Daryl Chen

October 28, 2007 Over the last two years, 23 states across the country have added more than 11.3 million reading and math tests to their school curricula in order to keep up with the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Law. Michigan alone has tacked on more than 1 million new tests; New York, more than 1.7 million. While experts are debating whether increased testing helps kids learn more, most agree that it does mean big bucks for the testing companies. The school testing and testing services industry (which includes tutoring, test prep courses and the tests themselves) is now an estimated $2.3 billion a year enterprise, with just five big companies controlling 90% of the statewide testing revenue.



Harcourt Assessment (Harcourt Publishing)

Pearson Assessment (Pearson Education/Scott-Foresman)

Riverside Publishing (Houghton Mifflin)

Education Testing Service

The states do not write their own tests; ETS is the primary tester in
California …and obviously the primary business of 4 out of five of these companies is textbook publishing.

Professor Gerald Bracy of George Mason University writes in No Child Left Behind:
Where Does the Money Go?
(2005 - two years is warp speed for scholarly thinking to make it to Parade Magazine!):

"Observers have often noted that the testing industry is virtually unregulated. Said Walt Haney of Boston College, 'There is more public oversight of the pet industry and the food we feed our dogs than there is for the quality of tests we make our kids take.' The industry is not accountable for the tests that are used to hold schools accountable."

The federal government has been actually spending about $13.3 billion per year on NCLB; $2.3 billion of this going to testing companies. If one takes out the federal, state and local administrative costs and set-asides that doesn't leave much to filter down to the student in the classroom.

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND: Where Does the Money Go? (Bracey, ASU Education Policy Studies Laboratory 2005) describes how the promise and deception/carrot and stick of NCLB works very well. The smoke and mirrors is between the lines!

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