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Pearson apologizes for student testing error in New York

(Reuters) - British education and media publisher Pearson Plc apologized for miscalculating the ages of almost 5,000 students, who took exams to qualify for New York City's "gifted and talented" school program last month.

The program is an educational initiative that provides challenging instructions and enrichment opportunities to children who are academically superior.

"We've extended our apologies to our colleagues at the NYC Department of Education, and we're very sorry to all the families and students who have been affected," Scott Smith, president of Pearson Learning Assessment, said in a statement emailed to Reuters on Monday.

"We have already begun to implement the multiple program changes requested by the New York City Department of Education, and Pearson is taking all necessary measures to ensure this doesn't happen again," he added.

The Financial Times on Monday quoted the chancellor of the New York City schools, Dennis Walcott, as saying in a statement that the Department of Education is reviewing a variety of options, including terminating Pearson's education testing contract in New York.

Pearson, which owns the Financial Times, runs and manages about 100 million tests globally each year, about a fifth of which are taken and administered online, according to the FT.

(Reporting by Abhirup Roy in Bangalore; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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