Pearson, the education services and technology company, today announced that its distributed scoring program, which utilizes technology to securely score assessments anywhere at any time, will reach a landmark milestone in 2010 with assessment evaluators assigning their 100 millionth score.
Distributed scoring uses online services to break down physical barriers historically associated with scoring large-scale assessments, enabling experienced scorers to effectively score assessments from home. Through the program, Pearson is able to tap a large pool of highly qualified scorers, increase flexibility for scoring employees and provide greater customization for scoring customers – all with the same accuracy and quality as traditional scoring in regional sites.
Six years ago, Pearson decided to make flexible scoring options a core component of its operational model due to a growing customer base and a keen interest in the continued recruitment of only top-quality scorers. Now, Pearson professional scorers throughout the nation score performance items, including writing, reading, and mathematics assessments; college entrance essays; and English language learner assessments, from their homes.
“Overall, the decision to expand beyond bricks-and-mortar scoring facilities dovetails well with Pearson’s focus on using technology to improve education and assessment while simultaneously addressing the wider company goal of going green,” said Kate Minette, senior vice president of operations and scoring at Pearson’s Assessment and Information group.
The program helps tap well-qualified scorers who can’t or prefer not to work in physical centers, and it enables Pearson customers to better customize assessment scoring in order to have the best-qualified experts score specific areas of a test.
With distributed scoring, Pearson is able to divide scoring tasks based on a variety of factors, including grade and subject matter. As a result, an expert in mathematics can be assigned math test items, while the reading comprehension questions are evaluated by another scorer located across town or thousands of miles away.
“Distributed scoring threw the door open to the number and quality of candidates we could secure as scorers. We’re no longer limited to scorers who reside close to physical scoring facilities,” said Minette.
Currently, Pearson’s database of qualified scorers contains about 56,000 diverse applicants representing every state, more than 22,000 of whom have a master’s degrees or higher. Each of the distributed scorers must meet Pearson’s strict qualifications and go through a similar screening process as on-site scorers, which includes an analysis of application data, a phone interview, and a process to verify credentials and eligibility.
Then, for security reasons, new scorers are assigned an initial protected default login based on a unique set of numbers. Because all papers are distributed anonymously, and because Pearson’s scoring system is independent of its databases containing test taker data, there is no way for a scorer to learn who the test taker is, what school they are from, or any other identifying information.
“To ensure high quality scoring, our distributed scorers’ performance was compared to on-site scorers with identical items and rubrics. Results showed that distributed scorers were just as effective and accurate as their on-site peers. Distributed scoring is a secure, cost-effective and technologically savvy way of scoring assessments in today’s world,” Minette said.
In addition to the flexibility distributed scoring offers, it provides an environmental benefit, as well. By allowing scorers to work from home, Pearson projects it will reduce carbon emissions by approximately 223 tons in 2010.
“Pearson has set a company goal of being carbon neutral, and we believe distributed scoring can play a large role in making that goal a reality,” said Minette. “Distributed scoring, along with efforts to conduct more online training and orientations, reduce travel, and host green meetings, will result in overall waste reduction and energy consumption.”
To find out more information about Pearson’s distributed scoring program or to learn how to apply for employment as a scorer, please visit www.pearsonedmeasurement.com and click on “Scoring at Home.”
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, provides innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. Pearson’s other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information about the Assessment group of Pearson, visit http://www.pearsonassessments.com/.
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Adam Gaber, Pearson, 800-745-8469, firstname.lastname@example.org