If you’re wondering how even in a deadly global pandemic, standardized tests like the ACT and SAT are still surviving, like education “zombies,” just follow the money.
• Over $1.7 billion is spent on standardized testing in the US each year.
• Another $669 million is spent on elementary assessments.
• Between $34-65 per student per year is spent by the states on standardized testing.
• It costs $68 to register for SAT w/essay; $67 for ACT w/writing (college admissions exam). This money is either paid directly by families, or schools cover the costs for their students–either way, these dollars are coming from tax payers.
• The cost for AP exams (high school advanced placement exams) is $94 per test.
• The fee is $300 for the edTPA (new teacher exam).
Who is making all this money???
• $762 million in 2018 profits for Pearson, the education testing multinational conglomerate, on revenues of $5.511 billion.
• $89 million in additional profit for Pearson from its ownership stake in Penguin Random House Publishers, a major world school textbook publishing company.
• And that money is not being divided up very equitably among Pearson’s employees. The average Pearson salary ranges from approximately $25,000 per year for Test Scorer (not a lot more than minimum wage) to $55,593 per year for a Learning and Development Associate.
• On the other hand, Pearson’s CEO, Andy Bird (who joined the corporation after working for Disney) was given a $10 million pay package upon his hiring. Bird, who had no experience in the education sector, also was given an apartment in NYC and a major gift of Pearson stock valued at around $9.3 million.
• ETS, or Educational Testing Services, Pearson’s major competitor, had revenues of $2.1 billion in 2018. ETS is a non-profit corporation.
• But that doesn’t mean they don’t pay their executives well. ETS’ CEO, Kurt M. Landgraf, earned $741,882 in compensation before leaving the company to become president of Washington College.
• The College Board, another educational testing “non-profit,” raked in $1.068 billion in revenue in 2017.
• The CEO of the College Board, David Coleman, earned $1.7 million in compensation in 2016, while Jeremy Singer, the president of the group, pulls in $871,000 per year.
There’s a lot of money to be made in the “education sector.” The problem is that not much of it is going to public school teachers, and virtually none of it is helping children learn.
If you’re a so-called fiscal conservative, there’s a strong case to be made that eliminating standardized tests would be a very good economic move for cash-strapped states, schools, and families.
And if you care about children and learning, there’s an even better case to be made for getting rid of the “Education Testing Complex,” which wastes hundreds of hours in test prep and administration for thousands of teachers and millions of children every year.
Imagine what your local public schools could do if they didn’t have to spend thousands of dollars on state and national standardized testing every year, and how much more teachers could teach and kids could learn without countless hours of test prep, “drill & kill” instruction, and “teach to the test” lesson plans.
What if instead of spending billions of dollars on standardized tests, schools had the resources to restore music, art, PE, and media programs; hire more counselors; increase mental and physical health services for children; reduce class sizes; improve facilities and physical plants; and hire more teachers?
All of this spending above is in service to nothing more than Big Testing’s CEOs making huge salaries–in exchange for nothing of real value.
This is the perfect time to get rid of standardized tests.
Pass it on…