Pearson svarer

Her svarer Pearson på spørsmål knyttet til hovedsaken i Utdanning nummer 1 2016.

Det er kommunikasjonsansvarlig Tom Steiner som har svart på Utdannings spørsmål. Utdanning gjengir her svarene på engelsk.

1. When and why did Pearson make the decision to focus exclusively on the education market?

Pearson has been investing in education for many years.  We have a long-standing heritage and expertise in educational publishing, assessment and qualifications around the world.  Over the past ten years we have built a reputation for expertise in educational content (including digital), qualifications and assessment, and innovative educational services to schools, universities and students.

Today’s education environment is more global than ever before – driven by increases in technology, communications and mobility.  Pearson is well positioned to improve learning outcomes at scale.  For example, we can draw on expertise from English teaching and learning in many different countries to improve our products and the service we give to students in China, Brazil, Europe and in many other regions.  The same is also true in higher education, where we serve universities and students in many countries, and can share our expertise about the future of digital learning.

2. The last 20 years there has been a development with more standardized testing in a lot of the educational systems around the world. In the US through NCLB and Common Core, and in Europe in part through the Pisa programs effect on national school policies. How has this development affected Pearson as a company?

Pearson is a market leading assessment organisation and we believe assessment plays an important role in opening doors to higher study and employment. We also believe that raising standards in assessment is important to ensuring the future success of our young people.

For example, in the United States, Pearson is the largest provider of large-scale educational assessment services and solutions.  Pearson focuses on providing fast and reliable assessment results and online testing that help teachers improve their efficiency and empower their students to make the most of their studies. We mark school examinations for dozens of states and score billions of multiple-choice tests each year.

Across all our markets, however, we support firmly the notion that testing is but one element of a high quality, broad based education that prepares people for life. The real issue to tackle is how we can better support teachers and improve learning for students. Exams and assessment play an important role in this, but they should never completely define the sum total of what a good education ought to provide.

3. A 2015-report from The Center for Media and Democracy highlighted that Pearson has been spending several millions on lobbying in the US the last five years (2009-2014). What would Pearson characterize as the most important issues they lobby for

Pearson stays apprised of a variety of relevant local and federal issues and we engage with policymakers at all levels to share our research and expertise in helping people make progress in their lives through learning.

4. More than 200 companies, among them Google, Apple and Microsoft, have signed the Student Privacy Pledge. Why has not Pearson signed the Student Privacy Pledge

Pearson welcomes the growing discussion on student data, and we are active in debates on how we can best use data to help students while at the same time protecting their privacy. We applaud the efforts of parents, policy-makers and a range of groups to amplify this discussion, and the introduction of new laws on student data across the United States underlines the significance of this issue. In this regard, we welcome the ‘K-12 School Service Provider Pledge to Safeguard Student Privacy’.

We are not in the business of selling personally identifiable student data or permitting its use for targeted advertising. When an educational institution or agency entrusts Pearson with personally identifiable student information, we work with them to ensure that such data is protected and used solely for educational purposes. Pearson remains committed to protecting student privacy and to working with state and local school officials to be good stewards of student personally identifiable information in our care. 

5. Pearson won the bid for developing the framework in Pisa 2015 and 2018. Why did Pearson want to be a part of the Pisa development?

Pearson was chosen by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to develop the cognitive frameworks for the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) educational assessment cycle. Pearson has also been chosen to develop the cognitive and survey frameworks for 2018 PISA and PISA for Development. The PISA assessment is widely recognized as an important benchmark for measuring the improvement of education systems worldwide.

We are pleased to play a role in designing a test that really reflects how young people around the world are learning.

6. Andreas Schleicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills in OECD, is listed as one of seven members of Pearsons Advisory Panel on “The Learning Curve”. Schleicher is also leading the Pisa program at the OECD. When did Schleicher join this Advisory Panel? What is the role of the panel? And why did you want Schleicher on the panel? Is Schleicher receiving any compensation for being in the Advisory Panel?

Mr. Schleicher is not receiving any payment for being on the panel.

We put together this panel in 2012 when Pearson decided to commission a report called the Learning Curve, on what makes education systems effective, in order to contribute to the public debate on education globally.  The panel reviewed evidence on education around the world, based on work carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of Pearson.  We published a Learning Curve report in 2012 and then again in 2014.  The panel is not currently carrying out any work.

7. Professor and bestselling author on educational issues, Diane Ravitch in the US, writes the following to us in an interview through e-mail: “Pearson is a for-profit corporation that fattens its profits by selling standardized tests. It has a staff of lobbyists in the U.S. who promote standardized as an indispensable part of education. It encourages a culture of testing, ranking, and rating--students, teachers, principals, and schools. It has bought control of many parts of our educational system.  (…)   PISA and Pearson are a very bad combination, both pushing an unhealthy, anti-child, anti-intellectual addiction to standardized testing”. Does Pearson want to comment on this?

Pearson has been involved in education around the world for decades and we are proud of our role in helping provide access to better education for more students. Our priority is to improve and invest in education and help learners to progress.

We welcome an ongoing dialogue about how we can continue to work collaboratively to help teachers and students achieve their goals. It’s also worth noting that Pearson does not set education policy. Ministers and officials set policy. We only succeed if we provide a service that teachers and officials believe is worth paying for.