Supply and demand
More tests mean more test preparation companies, and the Savannah NOW has the scoop. Now that accountability is at the forefront, test preparation has moved from a moribund segment of education-based retail to a booming field:
"The accountability movement has been on the horizon. But to even go back 10 years ago, testing was sort of a forgotten sector in the education market. It really only existed in a retail sense," said Seppy Basili, vice president of learning and assessment at Kaplan Inc., which publishes some Georgia-geared test prep books for parents and students. "Now accountability moves to the forefront. The growth for us has been phenomenal."...While local schools, as well as the state, don't endorse any one of these test-prep companies, some are inevitably used in classrooms.
Since 1997, revenue from test preparation alone has doubled, bringing in about $54 million last year. Its K-12 services -- professional development and curriculum alignment services for educators, not the average consumer -- didn't even exist in 1997, but grew from less than $1 million in revenue in 1998 to more than $6 million last year.
The state says the schools should focus on the curriculum, of course, and that educational reform will be stymied if teachers just use test-prep material, rather than teaching the actual material. But it's the educators - the schools themselves - who are purchasing prep material, driving up the profits for Kaplan and The Princeton Review.