In the spring of 2012, Kentucky's main assessment for grades 3 through 8 will be created by NCS Pearson, Inc. That testing will "provide blended criterion-referenced and norm-referenced tests in reading, mathematics, science, social studies and writing." Pearson will also provide Kentucky with writing on-demand tests for high schools, according to this press release from the Kentucky Department of Education.
This step is another piece of implementing 2009's Senate Bill 1 changes to standards, assessments, accountability, teacher preparation, and professional development. State testing for 2012 and beyond will also include new end-of-course tests for high school students and continued use of the Explore, Plan, and ACT tests of college readiness. The end-of-course vendor has not yet been announced.
Pearson is a major name in testing, billing itself as "the global leader in education and education technology."