The Paper Chase

A story in the Sunday New York Times, Recession Spurs Interest in Graduate, Law Schools, confirms my casual observation recently that our GRE test prep books were moving much more than they used to, and were now rarely found on the shelf. The number of people taking the LSAT was up 20% year-to-date in October 2009, the GRE 13%.

David G. Payne, the Educational Testing Service’s vice president and chief operating officer for college and graduate programs, said the rise in interest in graduate programs was tied to the troubled economy and increased school recruiting.
“When job creation slows, there’s an increase in the number of people who pursue a graduate degree,” Mr. Payne said.
It is not news that testing is a major, lucrative industry now.  Sell the test to institutions, sell test preparation to the students.

One new star in the testing firmament, Assessment Technologies Institute, won't even sell their study manual for the TEAS®, the Test of Essential Academic Skills, (which they are flogging to nursing schools as an entrance exam), to libraries or "resource centers".  "The TEAS® Study Manual is copyrighted and only available for a single use. The TEAS® Study Manual is not appropriate for library or resource center purchases."  That will be $38.95, please.

Even Peterson's, publisher of many books on test preparation, school loans, college programs and internships, appears to be moving in this direction.  Looking for a replacement for a dated 2002 title on internships, I discovered that it has not been updated since 2005, and that their web site has morphed into an education "portal".

Revenue streams, Digital Rights Management.  I love the "quote" that ATI has on its main page, accompanied by a photo of a bespectacled, (i.e. smart), minority student, "I'm not scared of needles, but tests make me a nervous wreck."  Fear not, ATI is here to help, as soon as you enter your credit card number and expiration date.

No one studied for the SAT when I was in high school.  The point of it was to measure your aptitude as you were, right?  And twenty-five years later I took the GRE cold as well.  Surely it is debatable whether studying for an aptitude test is of any use?

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