Princeton Review State Test Rankings Equivalent to Arthur Anderson Audit of Enron

for further information:
Robert Schaeffer, FairTest (239) 395-6773


for immediate release Monday, May 4, 2003

The Princeton Review test coaching company's rankings of state accountability systems, released today as Testing the Testers 2003, are no more accurate and honest than Arthur Anderson's highly flawed and misleading audits of the Enron Corporation.

Both supposedly "neutral" rating services had a significant conflict-of-interest with the enterprise they were evaluating. Princeton Review sells multiple titles of test coaching books for seven of the top ten state programs in its rankings. It does not market similar products for any of the ten bottom-ranked programs, according to the company's web site.

Like Arthur Anderson, Princeton Review's avarice has blinded it to serious ethical flaws in the enterprises it is evaluating: most of the states it rates highest use tests in a manner that violates the standards of the testing profession. No test is ever supposed to be used as the sole criterion for making high-stakes educational decisions, according to the Standards for Educational and Psychological Measurement. But many of the states that Princeton Review praises use exam results in just this manner to determine high school graduation or grade promotion.

It is probably no coincidence that the release of the report comes the day before Princeton Review makes public its most recent corporate financial statements. At its initial public offering two years ago, shares in Princeton Review sold for $10 and higher. Recently the price has been about $5 per share.

- - 3 0 - -