AUSTIN (KXAN) - The State Auditor's Office is advising the Texas Education Agency to provide more oversight on NCS Pearson, Inc.
The original 5-year contract, in effect from September 2010 through August 2015, with NCS Pearson, Inc. totaled $468.4 million.
NCS Pearson, Inc. administered more than 11.5 million tests to Texas public education students in grades 3 through 12 for the 2011 to 2012 school year, according to Pearson's year-end review. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) and the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) are among the tests distributed by the company.
After having their state contracts reviewed over the past few months by the SAO, the TEA is now working to amend and reduce their over-funded contract by $6 million with the testing company. The contract accounts for 61 percent of the total dollar amount invested in all TEA contracts.
Commissioner of Education Michael Williams said in a news release that he is confident the TEA has been an effective steward and watchdog of taxpayer dollars with the Pearson contract.
"However, the SAO review has provided recommendations that can help us better track and strengthen our oversight, and all of these recommendations will be put into place by TEA staff immediately," Williams said.
The SAO review did not identify any examples where Pearson was not meeting the terms of the contract with the state nor did it identify any examples where TEA was not receiving the services outlined in the contract.
Along with reducing funding for the Pearson contract, the auditor's office also recommended the education agency to seek more detail in monthly invoices, among other things.
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