Richard Steinberg 270004HRBG firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  openpages education risk-analytics compliance risk-management risk | 0 Comments | 1,519 Visits
You may remember hearing about problems with the College Board, which owns the SAT, and the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which administers the tests. In the recent SAT cheating scandal the College Board and ETS were accused of having lax security and a system that failed to punish cheats. But problems go back further, when a couple of years ago the SAT has serious issues with incorrect scoring of tests. And media reports speak to extensive incorrect scoring and losing test results in England in 2008, with the UK Parliament calling their operation a "shambles." And as far back as 1983 cheating was suspected in California. For details you may want to refer to my blog posting of November 2011, which includes analysis of what the accused organizations did, or rather didn’t do, to right the wrongs.
Well, we now find another player in this industry accused of wrongdoing. Princeton Review, which provides help to students in preparing for college entrance exams and sells study guides, finds itself accused of defrauding the federal government. An arm of the company that provides after-school tutoring to students at troubled schools is said to have falsified records – including forging student signatures, falsifying sign-in sheets, and making false certifications – in order to boost payments due the company. Relevant is that the company was informed of these allegations back in 2006, but prosecutors, who are now suing, say the fraud continued as nothing was done to fix the system. For what it’s worth, Princeton Review reportedly closed its tutoring division and says most of its current management joined the company after the alleged fraudulent activity took place.
But what’s striking is how the few players comprising this industry have had serious problems – not only in allowing fraud to occur, but also in failing to act in the face of wrongdoing. And this is an industry supposedly driving high academic standards! Yes, we know academic institutions are not immune to misconduct, but we can wonder how these industry players each went so very wrong. And food for thought – do we see other industries with an inordinate number of companies experiencing widespread instances of non-compliance, fraud or other misconduct? And what does that say about the culture not only of the individual organizations, but the industry as a whole? Hmmmm.