I am not a big fan of standardized testing, believing that they inevitably encourage teaching to the test, a bland normalization of education opportunities, and diminished quality of teachers, among other ills. However, I appear to be in the minority, since the current government is quite zealous about “if we can’t quantify it, it can’t exist. Therefore: test! Test! TEST!” And is it any wonder that some companies are doing very well in this new climate?
I bumped into this interesting little article in Publishers Weekly, an email-only newsletter that covers the publishing industry:
LearningExpress Looks for Fast Way to Libraries
With sales of its online test preparation materials to high school and
college libraries growing at a rapid clip, LearningExpress has
established a new school and academic library sales office in Unity,
LearningExpress president Barry Lippman says that the formation of the
school and academic library sales force gives the company a sales team
that complements its in-house public library sales group as well as
its retail sales distribution, which is handled by Delmar Learning.
Deborah Mod, who has worked in different sales capacities with
Macmillan, Gale and Grolier, has been named director of the division.
She’ll be based in NY. Cheryl Arute, formerly of Macmillan, is the
manager of the Unity office which employs about 20 telemarketing reps,
a number of whom had worked for Thorndike Press before the operation
was consolidated into Gale.
In addition to its core business of online practice tests, the company
has also found a niche as an online library distributor for other
companies. To date, LearningExpress serves as the online library
distributor for Delmar Learning’s eCourses program, the foreign language
materials produced by The Rosetta Stone Language Library and for
courses developed by SmartThinking.
As I said in the subject line, it’s good to know that someone is coming out ahead in this new climate. Unfortunately I don’t believe that it’s the children that are in schools that follow the obsessive strictures on testing.
Disclaimer of sorts: I’m an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder and the University of Phoenix Online, I have a Masters in Education, and I’m a (somewhat reluctant) member of the American Federation of Teachers (afl-cio, yadda yadda).