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Mississippi PEP

The state Board of Education approved an emergency contract Thursday that means Mississippi’s public school students will take multistate tests this year to evaluate student mastery of the Common Core state standards.

The board approved the $8.3 million contract with a unit of Pearson PLC in a closed session.

The one-year stopgap comes after the state Personal Service Contract Review Board told the Department of Education it would recommend rejection of the initial year of a four-year contract. The board ruled that the Department of Education should have solicited proposals from other vendors. The Department of Education withdrew the contract Friday.

Mississippi will have to sign a new contract after this year, opening the possibility that students will take whole new sets of tests two years in a row. Mississippi can’t return to the prior exams administered last year, also written by Pearson, because tests are supposed to align with…

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