Test review center controversy brews


There are some interesting points related to the recent article on the computerized GRE that bear mentioning ("Computerized GRE could be defective" Jan. 31). The piece related that Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Centers raised security issues with Educational Testing Services (ETS), the writers of the GRE. This is in fact true; however, one year previous to this, the Princeton Review accused ETS of ignoring these same security flaws during a hearing before a Federal Court. Six months later, the Princeton Review initiated a hearing in the New York State Senate Committee on Higher Education in an attempt to get ETS to disclose GRE questions more often, which would have forced them to deal with these security issues in a timely manner. Representatives from Kaplan were present at this hearing, but, at the time, were more interested in taking potshots at the Princeton Review for threatening to disclose information on the computerized GRE than supporting any type of reform which would have addressed the issue of test security. Ironically, six months later, Kaplan chose to use this very same threat to force ETS to restrict access to the GRE. The question that was never addressed in your article was "Why did Stanley Kaplan choose to wait a full year before pressing this issue with ETS?"

One answer may be that Kaplan chose not to use this information until they had financial incentive to do so. While the Princeton Review was committing resources to promoting legislation that would bring fairness and accountability to the testing industry, Kaplan was waiting to use this information to their own advantage. By forcing ETS to severely restrict the availability of the test, Kaplan has made it much less likely that students will be able to take this test and, hence, use the services of a commericial preparation course, like Kaplan and the Princeton Review, to prepare for the test. As it turns out, Kaplan has no program that prepares students specifically for the CAT GRE. Their actions in this case were designed to minimize a market that they had no way of competing in. Unfortunately, the result is that they made it more difficult for students to take the test, many of whom may need it in order to meet application deadlines for various graduate programs.

Matthew Kirsch

Director, Princeton Review

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