Kaplan to stop sending test-takers to exams


Facing a lawsuit filed by the Educational Testing Service, Kaplan Educational Centers has agreed to refrain from sending test-takers to memorize questions on computerized ETS examinations for the next two weeks, ETS said yesterday.

The Princeton, N.J.-based test publisher resumed computerized testing yesterday, three weeks after it suspended its use of the technique to tighten security. ETS halted the testing after Kaplan informed it that 20 people sent by the New York-based test-coaching company had memorized many of the questions on the Graduate Record Examination, one of the most widely used educational tests in the United States.

Kaplan executives insisted they were helping ETS by pointing up a security flaw, but ETS officials were anything but grateful. An ETS lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore accused Kaplan of fraud, breach of contract and violations of federal privacy and copyright laws.

Sylvan Learning Centers, the Columbia-based company that administers the computerized version of the test, joined ETS as a plaintiff in the suit, which claimed that Kaplan was trying to sabotage computer-based testing in order to protect its business of coaching customers to take the written test.

Under the temporary accord announced yesterday, ETS and Kaplan will hold talks over the next two weeks to reach a permanent agreement. ETS said that if Kaplan does not agree to stop sending test-takers to memorize questions, it would seek a permanent injunction.

Melissa Mack, a spokeswoman for Kaplan, acknowledged that her company had agreed to hold off on any such activities for the next two weeks, but she criticized ETS' lawsuit as an attempt to divert attention from the security issue.

"Essentially they are shooting the messenger," she said.

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