Putting Education Reform To The Test

Tony Bennett Now Advising ACT on New Common Core Test

Former Florida education commissioner Tony Bennett is now advising ACT about its new Common Core-tied exam.

Eric.bradner / flickr

Former Florida education commissioner Tony Bennett is now advising ACT about its new Common Core-tied exam.

Testing firm ACT has hired former Florida education commissioner Tony Bennett as a consultant for the new test tied to Common Core standards the company is developing, according to Education Week’s Catherine Gewertz.

The company said Bennett would advise ACT as state’s decide which exam to choose for Common Core standards. From the story:

ACT spokesman Ed Colby said he could not confirm that Bennett would be doing government relations work for the company, but did confirm that “ACT Aspire has hired him to consult on state level initiatives.” “We understand his focus to be on initiatives related to ACT Aspire as states consider the future of their state assessment programs,” Colby said in an email.

Bennett’s role helping ACT market its Aspire system is only the latest in a series of high-powered talent grabs by the Iowa-based testmaker and by the New York City-based College Board, which is wading into the common-core test market in middle and high school. ACT hired the College Board’s longtime chief of research, Wayne Camara. College Board lured away a number of ACT luminaries, including education division chief Cynthia Schmeiser.

Florida is in the process of choosing its exam for the standards, which have been fully adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. The math, English language arts and literacy standards outline what students should know at the end of each grade in math. (Here’s are some of those options, including the ACT Aspire.)

Bennett resigned his post in August after the Associated Press published emails that showed Bennett — while the elected chief of Indiana schools — had instructed staff to review that state’s school grading formula based in part on the results of a charter school founded by a prominent political donor. A subsequent review, commissioned by legislative Republicans to review Republican Bennett’s actions, declared the grading changes were “plausible,” but said Bennett’s staff had rushed the school grading process.

Choosing Florida’s next test was Bennett’s top priority at the time of his resignation.


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