- After the Indiana Department of Administration released award letters Wednesday for six companies delivering the state's spring assessments through 2017, state Superintendent Glenda Ritz slammed the "astronomical" $134 million price tag.
- Among the contracts, which Ritz says the state's education department was unaware of until after the bid process, are $38 million to Pearson for the state's ISTEP+ exam, which was previously delivered by CTB/McGraw-HIll, which was dropped following interruptions during the exam.
- The state is currently considering a switch to a national exam called "BEST" as a move to mitigate costs, and Ritz has been vocal about her desire to streamline the state's testing.
Unfortunately, as Ritz admits to the Associated Press, streamlining exams to arrive at a more cost-effective solution for taxpayers is difficult due to state and federal testing regulations. Still, some lawmakers in the state's legislature, like Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley, are in favor of using "off-the-shelf" tests like BEST to save money, as well.
Of course, there's a whole other question of whether those exams even line up to Indiana's Common Core replacement.
It's additionally telling that the state's education department, headed by Ritz, was reportedly unaware of the contracts until bidding was over. Despite being elected to office by the state's citizens, she has faced the threat of increasing powers being stripped from her by Republican Gov. Mike Pence and state GOP legislators.