October 20 Scantron/Measured Progress Press release
Commentary by Tim Horrigan, October 21, 2005
This is a press release, issued on October 20, 2005, which I stumbled on while looking for info about Measured Progress. It announces a partnership with Scantron, a leading for-profit producer of testing systems.
Scantron is most famous for its fill-in-the-bubble test forms (sometimes generically nicknamed "scantrons"— to the horror of the company's lawyers, no doubt) and also for its optical mark and character readers. Additionally, Scantron just happens to be a major player in the electronic voting arena. After the Presidential-election fiascos in 2000 & 2004, Scantron is not too eager to publicize its leading position in that particular market.
The gist of the October 20 press release is that Measured Progress is selling released items and other data for use in Scantron's test-coaching systems. There are a few ethical questions surrounding this project. One is that this creates a conflict of interest: Scantron markets its systems to the same school districts which are required to adminster Measured Progress's tests. Another is the fact that the schools are paying to field-test the questions for Measured Progress as part of the mandatory testing program: in essence, local school districts' taxpayers are being forced to pay for the same material multiple times, with little or no public accountability.
I would feel better if the released questions were all truly being released— released into the public domain, that is, instead of being re-sold to the highest bidder. In any case, here is the press release:
IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Scantron® and Measured Progress® announced today a partnership that will provide Measured Progress assessments and items through Scantron's Achievement Series(sm) - a leading Web-based assessment solution. The partnership will also allow the two companies to engage in joint promotions and for Measured Progress to resell Achievement Series.
Scantron will integrate Measured Progress assessments into Achievement Series (www.scantron.com) over the next two months with the first set of test items available to customers in early 2006. "With this partnership, school districts will have a delivery platform for Measured Progress test items that exactly matches their needs through Achievement Series," said Tim Loomer, president of Scantron's Testing and Assessment Division. "In addition, they will have great flexibility for test delivery - on paper or online - which is one of the features that makes Achievement Series so well suited to the needs of schools."
"Measured Progress is recognized for high-quality educational assessment and professional development programs. Our goal is to help build educator capacity in using multiple forms of assessments to improve teaching and learning," said Stuart R. Kahl, president and CEO of Measured Progress. "This partnership with Scantron represents another method for educators to access our standards-based assessment resources. It also brings together two companies with decades of service to the education community."
Measured Progress is a not-for-profit organization that works with states and school districts throughout the nation, tailoring integrated, standards-based assessment and professional development programs to measure student achievement and improve teaching and learning. Measured Progress has also developed a collection of high-quality assessment items correlated to state standards and comparable to what appears in statewide assessments. The initial pool of several thousand items that will be available through Scantron's Achievement Series will cover reading and mathematics in grades 1 through 11. Each item has been proven an effective measure of student proficiency in these critical subject areas.
Achievement Series is a Web-based testing solution designed to help educators develop and deploy tests, capture results and manage the vital information needed to make data-driven decisions and help guide classroom instruction in the classroom. Achievement Series aligns any content or resources a district chooses with established state standards and enables educators to deliver, score, and manage test data from both online and paper-based test administration.
Measured Progress is a Dover, New Hampshire-based, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving instruction and student learning in standards-based classrooms. For twenty-one years, Measured Progress has successfully partnered with more than half of the states across the nation in assessment programs affecting millions of students. The organization offers solutions that integrate state- and district-level assessment resources, professional development, and instructional support. The professional development offered by Measured Progress supports the development of standards-based curriculum and instruction and helps build educator capacity in creating and using a wide range of assessments to accurately measure and improve student achievement. The organization is also the nation's leading provider of alternate assessments for students with complex and severe disabilities. More information at www.measuredprogress.org or (800) 431-8901.
Scantron Corporation (www.scantron.com) is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based John H. Harland Company (NYSE:JH). Scantron is a leading provider of software services and systems for the collection, management and interpretation of data to the educational, financial and commercial markets. The company has approximately 600 employees worldwide and annual revenues exceeding $110 million.
Atlanta-based John H. Harland Company (NYSE:JH) (www.harland.net) is a leading provider of software and printed products to the financial and educational markets. Harland Financial Solutions, Inc. (www.harlandfinancialsolutions.com), a wholly owned subsidiary, supplies software and services, including customer relationship management, deposit and loan origination, core systems and mortgage services, to thousands of financial institutions of all sizes. Harland's printed products offerings include checks, direct marketing and financial forms.
This press release contains statements, which may constitute "forward-looking statements." These statements include statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of John H. Harland Company and members of its respective management, as well as the assumptions on which such statements are based. Prospective investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties and that actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements. Reference is made to the Risk Factors and Cautionary Statements in Harland's Form 10-K and Form 10-Q filed under the Securities Exchange Act.
CONTACT: Scantron Corporation Jennifer Harrison for Scantron Testing and Assessment Division (916) 716-0636 jennifer@JHarrisonPR.com Patricia C. Ross Measured Progress (603) 749-9102, Ext. 2157 firstname.lastname@example.org Tim Loomer Scantron Testing and Assessment Division (949) 639-7518 email@example.com
Scantron-related eBay auctions (if any):
The Forgotten Liars