NCS Pearson wins Virginia online testing contract -- first statewide electronic testing initiative

MINNEAPOLIS, August 21, 2001 – NCS Pearson, Inc., the largest commercial processor of student assessment tests and a leading education company, today announced that the Virginia Department of Education has renewed its contract for implementation of the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) Technology Initiative. The contract includes delivering the Virginia SOL End-of-Course tests on NCS Pearson’s proprietary electronic test delivery system, eMeasurementTM Services. NCS Pearson is owned by Pearson plc, the international media and education company.

The statewide initiative provides funding and technological assistance for the development of on-line testing and an array of Web-based instructional and remedial programs. Under the contract, NCS Pearson will deliver the SOL End-of-Course tests via the Internet to high school students for whom passing the tests is a requirement for graduation. The objective of the initiative is to connect every high school classroom in Virginia to an Internet-ready local area network by 2003 and provide computer access at a ratio of one computer for every five students. When the initiative is fully implemented, approximately three-quarters of a million tests will be delivered electronically each year to Virginia high school students.

“This is an important contract for NCS Pearson, as it is our first large contract for electronic testing” said Gary Mainor, president of NCS Pearson’s Measurement Services business. “Virginia is on the cutting-edge in this country of bringing the Internet together with the testing, assessment and instructional process. We are delighted they chose our technology solution, and we are anxious for our partnership to begin work on this exciting initiative.”

Virginia is among the first of several states beginning statewide implementation of on-line testing. NCS Pearson is the leading company in the testing business and has worked to aggressively develop secure on-line testing solutions as one way to shorten scoring time and utilize Web-based technology in ways that benefit all constituents.

"The goal of the initiative is to provide our students with an array of Web-based instructional and remedial opportunities, as well as on-line testing,” said Dr. JoLynne DeMary, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “I am confident that NCS Pearson, Inc. possesses the resources and experience to make this technological vision a reality."

NCS Pearson was one of three vendors selected last December to participate in the demonstration phase of the initiative, which involved nine high schools of varying sizes and technological capability. The renewal of the contract was based on the results of the demonstration phase, input from local educators and independent evaluations.

NCS Pearson is a global provider of applications, services and technologies for education, testing, assessment and complex data management. Formerly known as National Computer Systems, the company was acquired last year by London-based Pearson plc, and now operates as a business of Pearson Education, the world’s largest integrated learning company.

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