Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Invest in Test Prep

Remember how advocates of the new generation of Big Standardized Tests keep insisting that these tests are special because they are totally immune to test prep?

For instance, Laura Slover, CEO of PARCC, told us that

there is no “test prep” for these tests; these are the kinds of test items that require understanding of concepts and application that only come through a year of effective teaching, not through “drill and kill.”

This has convinced pretty much nobody who has actually encountered the new generation of tests. Or anyone who ever encountered any sort of standardized test at all. Well, if you want to add to the list of people who believe that the new tests are totally test preppable, you can add Investment Analysts.

Research and Markets: The World's Largest Market Research Store is now offering the report "Test Preparation Markets in the US: 2015-2019," and it looks-- well, not juicy, exactly, because mostly it looks like a painfully dry market research report. And yet, enticing. Alluring. Redolent with the scent of impending ROI.

The market, we're told at first, has always centered around the test prep involved in getting students ready for SAT, ACT, MCAT, and similar admissions tests. But now--

The market offers promising growth options because its true growth potential is yet to be unlocked. The emergence of many positive trends is expected to help the market grow and circumvent the challenges. Focus on the K-12 market has increased in the US. 

The market, though "lucrative," is segmented, so vendors have to produce more individualized products. The report also indicates that an influx of many players into the market has "resulted in increased resistance among customers." Yeah, that's probably it. That's why the "customers" are resisting test prep-- not because it's a time-sucking bunch of soul-crushing educational malpractice. Still, the investment prospects look good:

The test preparation market in the US to grow at a CAGR of 2.20% over the period 2014-2019.

The market report summary lists the major players in this sector, including ArborBridge, Kaplan, Knewton, Pearson, Princeton Review and Club Z! among others. So, Pearson is manufacturing these un-preppable tests, but it's also working to make money from selling test prep.

Sure, of all the lies told in the marketing of Common Core and the Big Standardized Tests, "It can't be test prepped" is one of the less bothersome ones-- it's small, stupid, and so patently obviously a lie that it's on the order of a breakfast cereal telling me that it will transform me into an olympic athlete. It's puffery. But as long as these folks don't get tired of telling the lies, we can't get tired of pointing them out.

The BS Tests are just as preppable as any standardized tests ever. Not only that, but a whole bunch of folks-- including the test manufacturers themselves-- are lined up to make money from selling that very test prep. Not only can we make money selling the emperor his new clothes, but make money selling him full body sunscreen as an accessory.

(Tip of the hat to @teachersolidarity for the lead)

1 comment:

  1. Market tip: Buy sunscreen!

    Thanks for my daily out loud laugh, Peter!