Pearson Education
Company typeSubsidiary
Founded1998; 26 years ago (1998)[1]
Area served
ProductsTextbooks, e-textbooks, tests, assessments
Number of employees
c. 20,000[2] (2023)
ParentPearson plc

Pearson Education, known since 2011 as simply Pearson, is the educational publishing and services subsidiary of the international corporation Pearson plc. The subsidiary was formed in 1998, when Pearson plc acquired Simon & Schuster's educational business and combined it with Pearson's existing education company Addison-Wesley Longman.[1] Pearson Education was restyled as simply Pearson in 2011.[3] In 2016, the diversified parent corporation Pearson plc rebranded to focus entirely on education publishing and services,[4] and as of 2023 Pearson Education is Pearson plc's main subsidiary.[5]

In 2019 the company began phasing out the prominence of its hard-copy textbooks in favor of digital textbooks, which cost the company far less, and can be updated frequently and easily.[6]

As of 2023, Pearson Education has testing/teaching centers in over 55 countries worldwide; the UK and the U.S. have the most centers.[5] The headquarters of parent company Pearson plc are in London, England.[5] Pearson Education's U.S. headquarters were in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey until the headquarters were closed at the end of 2014.[7] Most of Pearson Education's printing is done by third-party suppliers.[5]

Company history

Following the British government's acquisition and nationalization of several of Pearson's aviation, fuel, and energy divisions in the early 1940s,[8][9] the diversified multinational conglomerate entered the education market.[10] It acquired the textbook publisher Longman in 1968.[10]

In the late 1980s and 1990s, Pearson plc divested further from a number of its industries and acquired more educational publishing companies, and its education publishing operations became steadily larger and more significant.[8][11] In 1988 Pearson plc purchased Addison-Wesley, the sixth-largest publisher of textbooks in the U.S.,[12] and merged it with Pearson's educational books subsidiary Longman to create Addison-Wesley Longman.[13][11] In 1996, it acquired HarperCollins Educational Publishing and merged it with Addison-Wesley Longman.[14]

Marjorie Scardino, who was CEO of Pearson plc from 1997 to 2013, increasingly focused the conglomerate on education and on making education acquisitions.[15][16] In 1998, Pearson plc purchased the education division of Simon & Schuster, which included Prentice Hall, Allyn & Bacon,[17][18] and parts of Macmillan Inc. including the Macmillan name.[19][20] Later in 1998 it merged Simon & Schuster's educational business with Addison Wesley Longman to form Pearson Education.[1]

Pearson Education sold and divested most of its Simon & Schuster divisions in 1999.[21] It sold Silver Burdett Ginn Religion, a Catholic publishing division it operated under the Scott Foresman imprint, to RCL Benziger in 2007.[22] In 2007 Pearson Education sold the Macmillan name to Holtzbrinck Publishing Group,[19][20] which had purchased Macmillan Publishing Ltd. in the late 1990s.[23]

In 2000 Pearson acquired Virtual University Enterprises, an electronic testing company founded in 1994, and renamed it Pearson VUE.[24] According to the company, as of 2023, it delivers numerous skills tests and certification tests electronically in over 180 countries.[25][26]

Pearson Education was rebranded as simply Pearson in 2011,[3] and split into Pearson North America and Pearson International.[27] A restructuring announced in 2013 combined Pearson North America and Pearson International into one Pearson company[28] organised around three global lines of business: School, Higher Education, and Professional.[29][30]

Following the sale of its financial news publications Financial Times and The Economist in 2015, Pearson plc rebranded in January 2016 to focus solely on education, and the corporation adopted a new logo.[4] The logo is the unconventional symbol known as the interrobang (‽), a combination of a question mark and an exclamation point, and the logo is meant to convey a "combination of excitement, curiosity and individuality"[4] and "the excitement and fun of learning".[31]

In 2019, Pearson announced it would begin the process of phasing out the publishing of printed textbooks, in a plan to move into a more digital first strategy.[6] E-textbooks will be updated frequently, while printed books will be updated less often.[6] Students wanting printed books will need to rent them.[6] As of 2019, the firm received more than half of its annual revenues from digital sales,[6] and the US accounted for 20 percent of Pearson's annual revenue coming from courseware.[6]

In 2019, Pearson sold its US K-12 courseware business to the private equity firm Nexus Capital Management,[32][33] which rebranded it as Savvas Learning Company.[34][35] In 2019, Pearson also sold its remaining 25% stake in Penguin Random House to Bertelsmann.[36]


Pearson has a number of publishing imprints, including:


InformIT, a subsidiary of Pearson Education, is an online book vendor and an electronic publisher of technology and education content. It is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.[42]

It publishes books, e-books, and videos, and its imprints include Addison-Wesley Professional, Cisco Press, Pearson IT Certification, Que Publishing, and Sams Publishing.[38] is one of the websites of the Pearson Technology Group,[43] and one of several sites in the InformIT Network.[44] The site features free articles, blogs, and podcasts on IT topics and products, as well as a bookstore carrying all titles from its imprints.[44]

Other sites in the InformIT Network include[43] Peachpit is a publisher that has been producing books on graphic design, desktop publishing, multimedia, web design and development, digital video, and general computing since 1986.[44] Peachpit is a publishing partner for Adobe, Apple, Macromedia, and others.[44]

In 2001, the Pearson Technology Group and O'Reilly Media LLC formed a joint partnership called Safari Books Online, to offer a web-based electronic library of technical and business books from InformIT's imprint partners and O'Reilly Media.[45] The InformIT Network offers access to this service via its web sites.[46] Pearson sold its interest in Safari Books Online to O'Reilly in 2014.[47]

Technology products

Pearson's products include MyMathLab and Mastering Platform.[48]

In 2006, Pearson School Systems, a division of Pearson Education, acquired PowerSchool, a student information system, from Apple; terms of the deal were not disclosed.[49] PowerSchool was a profitable product for Pearson; in 2014, it generated $97 million in revenue and $20 million in operating income.[50] In 2015, Pearson sold PowerSchool to Vista Equity Partners for $350 million cash.[50]

In 2007, the company developed the youth-oriented online quest game Poptropica, through its Family Education Network. In 2015, Pearson's Family Education Network, along with Poptropica, were sold to the London-based investment group Sandbox Partners.[51]

In 2010, Pearson purchased Cogmed,[52][53] a brain fitness and working memory training program founded in 1999 by Swedish researcher Torkel Klingberg.[54][55] In 2019, Cogmed was transferred back to the original founders.[56]

In 2016, Pearson acquired StatCrunch, a statistical analysis tool created by Webster West in 1997. Pearson had already been the primary distributor of StatCrunch for several years.[57]


In 2007, Pearson partnered with four other higher-education publishers to create CourseSmart, a company developed to sell college textbooks in eTextbook format on a common platform.[58] In 2011, Pearson obtained a five-year, $32 million contract with the New York State Department of Education to design tests for students in grades 3–8.[59]

Que Publishing, a publishing imprint of Pearson based out of Seattle, partnered with AARP in 2014 to develop and add to a series of technology books for seniors.[60] The series, which includes My iPad For Seniors, and My Social Media for Seniors, are large-print and colourful.[60]

Errors in tests

In the spring of 2012, tests that Pearson designed for the NYSED were found to contain over 30 errors, which caused controversy. One of the most prominent featured a passage about a talking pineapple on the 8th Grade ELA test (revealed to be based on Daniel Pinkwater's The Story of the Rabbit and the Eggplant, with the eggplant changed into a pineapple). After public outcry, the NYSED announced it would not count the questions in scoring.[61] Other errors included a miscalculated question on the 8th Grade Mathematics test regarding astronomical units, a 4th grade math question with two correct answers, errors in the 6th grade ELA scoring guide, and over twenty errors on foreign-language math tests.[62]

See also


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  2. ^ "Who we are". Retrieved 13 September 2023.
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  4. ^ a b c Cowdrey, Katherine (7 January 2016). "Pearson rebrand to reflect 100% focus on education". The Bookseller. Retrieved 12 September 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d Pearson plc (31 March 2023). "Form 20-F: Annual Report for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022" (PDF). U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved 13 September 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Education publisher Pearson to phase out print textbooks". BBC News. 16 July 2019. Retrieved 12 September 2023.
  7. ^ Moss, Linda (17 May 2013). "Pearson trims Upper Saddle River employees". Archived from the original on 21 March 2015.
  8. ^ a b Long, Steven; Jacques, Derek; Kepos, Paula, eds. (2019). "Pearson plc". International Directory of Company Histories, Volume 207. St. James Press / Gale Cengage. OCLC 1066283259.
  9. ^ "S. Pearson and Son". Grace's Guide. Retrieved 8 September 2023.
  10. ^ a b Christensen, Jens (2009). Global Experience Industries. Aarhus University Press. ISBN 978-87-7124-581-3.
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  13. ^ "Addison-Wesley to Be Bought for $283 Million". Los Angeles Times. Reuters. 16 February 1988. Retrieved 9 September 2023.
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  16. ^ Chozick, Amy (3 October 2012). "Scardino, Chief of Pearson, to Step Down". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 September 2023.
  17. ^ Walsh, Mark (21 February 2001). "Pearson Hopes To 'Widen the Definition Of Education'". Education Week. Retrieved 9 September 2023.
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  19. ^ a b "Macmillan Rises from the Dustbin". Publishers Weekly. 12 October 2007. Retrieved 7 December 2023.
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  27. ^ McCleery, Alistair; Bold, Melanie Ramdarshan (2012). "'What is my country?': Supporting Small Nation Publishing" (PDF). Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies. 6 (1). Aberdeen University Press: 119. doi:10.57132/jiss.74.
  28. ^ Booth, Jenny (23 July 2015). "Pearson sells the Financial Times to Japanese newspaper Nikkei for £844m". The Times. Retrieved 11 September 2023.
  29. ^ "About us: Our qualifications history". Retrieved 11 September 2023.
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  31. ^ "Logo: The Interrobang" (PDF). Retrieved 12 September 2023.
  32. ^ Wan, Tony (18 February 2019). "Finally: Pearson Sells Its US K-12 Courseware Business—for $250 Million*". EdSurge. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  33. ^ "Pearson K12 Spinoff Rebranded as 'Savvas Learning Company'". Market Brief. 6 May 2020. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
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  36. ^ Calatayud, Adria (18 December 2019). "Pearson CEO to Retire and company will sell remaining Penguin Random House stake". MarketWatch. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  37. ^ "Rights & licensing: BBC Active". Retrieved 7 September 2023.
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  52. ^ "Press release: PsychCorp Announces Acquisition of Cogmed". Pearson. 14 July 2010.
  53. ^ Gareth Cook (5 April 2013). "Brain Games are Bogus". The New Yorker.
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  60. ^ a b "New Tech Books Help People 50+ Get Savvy".
  61. ^ Collins, Gail (28 April 2012). "A Very Pricey Pineapple". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  62. ^ Haimson, Leonie (9 May 2012). "Pineapplegate continues, with 20 more errors, and finally an apologia from Pearson". NYC Public School Parents. Retrieved 22 August 2012.

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