TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Florida has collected $14.7 million in penalties from a contractor that delivered standardized test results more than a month late, and that amount could grow, the state's education commissioner said Thursday.
Pearson, which is in the first year of a four-year, $254-million contract to grade the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT, this week also outlined steps it's taking to prevent future delays.
“We have received full payment of the liquidated damages requested from Pearson and are currently in the process of compiling the additional costs that (school) districts incurred due to the late FCAT results,'' Education Commissioner Eric Smith said in a statement.
Smith said if those costs exceed what Pearson already has paid he'll demand more money to make sure the districts are fully compensated. Their costs are related largely to scheduling delays that resulted from the late results, which are used to determine class assignments and staffing.
“Additionally, I continue to seek detailed information from Pearson on their plans to ensure that these types of issues are absent from future test administrations,'' Smith said.
Douglas Kubach, a group president and CEO for Pearson in Bloomington, Minn., sent state education officials a memo Monday describing the company's efforts to prevent future delays.
Kubach said one problem was incompatible state and company data systems. He wrote that Pearson has substantially modified its system to make them mesh. Pearson also is offering Florida schools more technical support and revamping its staffing.
“Pearson is committed to improving the quality of the assessment services we provide to Florida and to regaining the trust of Florida stakeholders in our services,'' Kubach wrote.
Pictured: Education Commissioner Eric Smith