In your search for finding real online work you may have run across online test scoring jobs, and now you’re wondering if they’re an actual job you can make money with.
Well, first and foremost I have to say these are real positions and companies like ETS and Pearson hire this work – both on-site and online. Onsite jobs may not be feasible if you don’t live near one of the scoring centers or if you need to do the work online. But they do hire at home scorers for these positions as well, where you can do the work entirely online from your home.
I actually worked for one of these companies – Pearson – for 5 years. I worked a combination of on-site/at-home. They also do a lot of contracted work for ETS, so no matter which company you work with, the job is pretty much the same.
What are you scoring, exactly?
What you are doing is helping to score standardized tests, which could be anything from elementary all the way through college placement, or even advanced testing for teaching certification. Although, the advanced tests require much more qualifications, and they don’t hire a large pool of applicants for it.
Most likely, you are going to be scoring standardized testing for elementary through high school. These are tests just like you had to take back in school, the ones that are currently under huge controversy. Growing up in Michigan, for me it was the MEAP, which has since been replaced with the M-STEP and MME.
Each state administers their own testing, and the businesses that are in charge of these tests contract out companies like ETS and Pearson to help them with the scoring process.
The majority of these tests are multiple choice, which are obviously done by a machine. However, these tests usually include portions that are open ended responses. It could be as simple as answering a basic math question to as complex as an entire essay. These are type of answers you will be scoring when you work for one of these companies.
Now, the way you are hired to score with companies like this goes on a project to project basis. Each project refers to a different test, or different portion of the test. Sometimes these are just field tests, which don’t count towards the students score, but often times they are real tests that help determine how much funding a district gets, or even help place students into appropriate level classes as they enter college.
What qualifications do you need to get hired as a test scorer?
The qualifications vary by project. As a test scorer for Pearson you are required to have a Bachelor’s degree (in any field).
For ETS you need a Bachelor’s degree or some college for most work, but for the more advanced tests (beyond high school) you may need more than that. They have their job listings open on their website, so you can view the requirements on a project by project basis.
They also both say you are encouraged to have teaching experience, but it isn’t necessary. I never had a day of teaching experience and still was able to work for them.
It is also important to note you need to meet their specific system requirements for each project, and also have a fast and reliable internet connection. Their system uses a lot of data so if you are stuck on satellite internet it won’t be good enough.
Once you do get hired and start a project, you are going to be taken through training and qualification for each and every item you score. You need to pass this testing in order to score the responses, so if you fail you will be removed from that particular item. Also, you have to maintain accuracy standards throughout testing, and if you can’t you will also be removed.
Still, even if this happens it usually isn’t a big deal – often times they will just put you on another item and you will get a second chance. Anyone that has worked as a test scorer long enough will tell you this happens all the time, and it usually even has happened to them.
Although – how difficult these tests are varies from item to item and project to project. If you’re scoring 3rd grade math, there’s a good chance it will be easy. If you’re trying to score an essay – good luck. The qualification and retention rates for that type of work is pretty low, although I have managed to score a variety of essays from 4th grade through college placement. It isn’t easy though.
How much will you get paid for this type of work?
The pay varies by project. For Pearson, usually it’s a base pay of $10 – $13 per hour. Most projects will either pay out with a performance rate of pay, or give you a daily bonus if you can reach a certain amount of items scored with a high accuracy rate.
So while the $10 rate is advertised, when I scored for Pearson, I usually could average anywhere from $15 – $25 per hour if it paid at a performance rate or gave daily bonuses. Although, it seems recently they have been moving away from performance rate pay and giving out more bonuses for achieving a certain level of items scored.
With ETS, the pay also varies depending on the project. It seems they offer anywhere from $14 – $21+, along with occasional bonuses.
The good thing about these jobs is you are hired as an actual employee, so they even will deduct taxes out of your paycheck.
The Good vs Bad
- They pay you for all the time you spend working, even if you’re studying or on the phone with support.
- Even if you don’t end up passing the exam, you get paid for the time you spend training and taking it.
- The pay is decent, and you are an actual employeeYou can work entirely from home on your own schedule
- Requires a college degree or higher in most cases
- Positions are not always available
- At home scoring is harder to get a job with than on-site scoring
- Crazy inconsistent work – you might only end up working for them for 3 weeks, or you could be employed for 4, 5, 6+ months of the year. This isn’t a good steady job to rely on, but rather more of a decent source of extra income
- It is very boring work, and it isn’t something everyone can do well
Here are the links where you can find job openings for each:
Keep in mind they aren’t always hiring, and getting a job online might be difficult. But if you have a college degree and are only in need of making some extra cash on the side, it isn’t a bad way to go.
We’ve all heard of making money at home, but I never new exactly how this particular avenue worked. It’s very interesting, however since I didn’t go to college, that leaves me out. It does sound like it can be tough staying employed even with a college degree though. Sounds like too may drawbacks to be a really good opportunity. On the other hand, I saw your work at home ads for Wealthy Affiliate on the right side of your page. This sounds more like a steady, anyone can do it opportunity. Thanks for your insight into these fields of earning.
Travis Smithers says
I was not familiar with online test scoring as a job. I can see why you did it for five years as the pay is better than some of the other jobs one can get paid for and especially working from home.
Your pros and cons bring to light just what you may be up against so this type of position would probably best to think of it as temporary if you get on with them.
A person would be wise also to get something else on the go while doing this sort of job. Nice to know.
Hi Wendy although my teaching days are a long way behind me at this stage, this also sounds like an ideal opportunity for newly qualified or training student teachers. Even if you can’t do the onsite work at least you are already in the system.
Getting jobs can be difficult in teaching at least initially and that situation seems to be getting worse. Having a backup online job could be ideal for many. What about online work for people living outside the US would they consider scorers from other countries as well, or US citizens living abroad?
Brings back nightmares, testing, testing, testing, in school lol. Actually, this article has given me new insight about some of those standardize tests. I didn’t know that organizations contract scorers out, which explains why they get them done right away. I like the pay though, it shows that its a legitimate opportunity.
Hi Wendy, interesting concept to earn money. Where I come from the teachers are supposed to do the rating except maybe for big final exams at the end of your school life but then some “experts” do the rating.
But it seems to be a nice job especially when you have standardized multiple choice tests. It makes sense that you would need a college degree to do that job, at the same time I feel it would be good to do this as a part time job while you are studying and not after it 🙂
I probably would consider to do it until I find a “real” job that fits my qualification.
Thank you for this interesting post, I learned something new again.
Pearson and ETS sound like a pretty decent source for extra money. Do you need to work at a specific time or can you work when you’re available.
I’ll be home for some time in a couple months. This could help supplement my income while my Wealthy affiliate site matures.
Thanks for writing this post. It not only a good source of subsidiary income but will give me a better idea of what the kids are doing in school. I’ll be able to help them at home better.
I’ve never heard of this concept before. Seems very interesting to me. And $10 or more dollars per hour sounds pretty good to me! Unfortunately English is a second language to me, therefore I think that those tests are way too sophisticated for me… Anyway, thanks for the informative article.
Heather Grace says
I wish I had known about this option several years ago when I was working part-time. It would have been a nice alternative to the job I had. One thing that I don’t like that you pointed out is how unreliable those types of jobs seem to be. It would be great if they hired for contracted times instead to just letting you hang out there. Great article!