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Pearson Statement Regarding Scoring Errors on NYC Gifted and Talented Assessments

— April 19, 2013 —

"We are very sorry to report that errors at Pearson occurred during the process of calculating the scores used to determine eligibility for New York City’s Gifted & Talented (G&T) programs.

"Eligibility for the G&T programs is based on two assessments, the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test, Second Edition (NNAT2) and the verbal test items from the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test, Eighth Edition (OLSAT8).

"It’s important to note that when these errors are corrected, all students who were deemed eligible for the G&T programs remain eligible. And, additional students who were originally deemed ineligible are now eligible. Further, some children who were originally deemed eligible for only the G&T district programs will now be eligible for both the district and citywide programs.

"During the scoring process, three errors occurred. First, an error occurred in the assignment of students’ age. Specifically, the assignment accounted for years and months, but did not extend to days. When days are accounted for, some students are categorized in a different age band. Second, incorrect score conversion tables were applied in producing the scale scores for the NNAT2 and the OLSAT8. Finally, the mathematical formula used in combining the NNAT2 and OLSAT8 scores to create the overall composite percentile contained an error.

"The errors were discovered from investigations based on parent inquiries. Upon receiving scores, two New York City parents contacted the Department of Education and questioned the formula used to calculate their child’s results. After consulting with the Department of Education, Pearson reviewed every part of the assessment and scoring process—from the raw score all the way to the overall percentile ranks. Several teams of research scientists within Pearson reviewed this entire recalculation process. In addition, quality engineers were brought in to certify the processes followed and to carry out additional, independent quality control checks.

"The fact that these errors occurred is simply unacceptable to Pearson as we fully understand the importance of accurate scoring. We successfully score millions of high-stakes tests for customers throughout the world and believe that our scoring processes adhere to the best practices in the industry. It is clear that we had a breakdown in our processes and we are conducting a complete, extensive investigation of every step in our processes to fully understand how these errors occurred. In addition, we will bring in external experts to further review our processes and provide recommendations for further actions Pearson can take to prevent this from ever happening again.

"Pearson is truly sorry for our error and for the disruption and inconvenience caused to New York City families and children. We extend our deepest apologies to the New York City Department of Education."

Scott Smith

President, Learning Assessment

Pearson

For more information:

Susan Aspey, Public Affairs, susan.aspey@pearson.com or 347-421-2473