NCS Pearson wins five-year testing contract from US Dept of Education

IOWA CITY, Iowa - The United States Department of Education has awarded NCS Pearson an $83 million, five-year contract for scoring the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as "the nation's report card".  NCS Pearson is part of Pearson (FTSE: PSON; NYSE:  PSO), the international media company.

NCS Pearson has participated on this major educational program continually since 1989, but this marks the first time as a prime contractor with the Department of Education.  NAEP data will be used as a key indicator of academic proficiency in support of the "No Child Left Behind" federal education legislation.

"We?re extremely pleased to have the opportunity to continue our work on NAEP for the Department of Education," said Steve Kromer, vice president and general manager of NCS Pearson?s Measurement Services division in Iowa City.  "NAEP serves as an independent  verification that students are making academic progress.  We are proud that the Department of Education chose our technology and test processing expertise to help achieve their educational goals."

NAEP will be administered every other year to survey the nation?s 4th and 8th grade students in the subject areas of reading and mathematics; grade 12 will be added in 2005.  Assessments in  additional subject areas of economics, foreign language, science, writing and world history will be incorporated over time. 

NCS Pearson is part of a consortium of contractors working to deliver the NAEP program.  Other companies include Educational Testing Service, Westat, Inc., American Institutes for Research, Government Micro Resources and Human Resources Research Organization.  In addition to the contractors working on NAEP, staff at the U.S. Department of Education?s National Center for Education Statistics provide technical direction.

NCS Pearson will continue to perform the functions of test booklet printing, materials packaging and distribution, scanning, performance scoring of essay questions and data delivery on this contract.

About NCS Pearson

NCS Pearson is a global provider of applications, services, and technologies for education, testing, assessment, government, and complex data management. Its Measurement Services division, based in Iowa City, is the largest commercial processor of K-12 tests in the U.S.  NCS Pearson operates as a business of Pearson Education, the world?s largest integrated education company, which in turn is part of Pearson.

Further Information:

David Hakensen: (952) 681-3040