The Washington Monthly has an interesting article on how test-prep firms like Kaplan and Princeton Review are invading our grade schools. Kaplan and Princeton Review are the top firms that teach courses designed to give kids a leg up on those all-important college-entrance exams, the SAT and ACT, as well as graduate school equivalents like the GMAT and LSAT. Such programs have long been controversial because, they provide children of the affluent yet another unfair advantage in life, teaching them how to game the tests that largely determine admission to selective colleges and universities–tests that are themselves of dubious intellectual value.
The article points out that test-prep companies are expanding their offerings downward to cover children as young as six. Companies like Kaplan area marketing towards the younger age range is because of the school reform movement, which hit another gear with President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act (The Act requires such tests for every public school student in America in grades three through eight by 2006). Sensing an opportunity, companies like Kaplan Inc. began developing prep courses for those tests and marketing them to the anxious parents of K-through-12 students.
Critics of high-stakes tests are fighting an uphill battle since the test preperation course are gaining popularity. What do you think of the tesp-prep companies invading your students lives?