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SELLING "DREAM INSURANCE": THE STANDARDIZED TEST-PREPARATION INDUSTRY'S SEARCH FOR LEGITIMACY, 1946-1989

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Date Issued:
2011
Abstract/Description:
This thesis analyzes the origins, growth, and legitimization of the standardized test preparation ("test-prep") industry from the late 1940s to the end of the 1980s. In particular, this thesis focuses on the development of Stanley H. Kaplan Education Centers, Ltd. ("Kaplan") and The Princeton Review ("TPR"), and how these companies were most conducive in making the test-prep industry and standardized test-preparation itself socially acceptable. The standardized test most frequently discussed in this thesis is the Scholastic Aptitude Test ("SAT"), especially after its development came under the control of Educational Testing Service ("ETS"), but due attention is also given to the American College Testing Program ("ACT"). This thesis argues that certain test-prep companies gained legitimacy by successfully manipulating the interstices of American business and education, and brokered legitimacy through the rhetorical devices in their advertising. However, the legitimacy for the industry at-large was gained by default as neither the American government nor the American public could conclusively demonstrate that the industry conducted wholesale fraud. The thesis also argues that standardized test manufacturers were forced to engage in a cat-and-mouse game of pseudo-antagonism and adaptation with the test-prep industry once truth-in-testing laws prescribed transparent operations in standardized testing. These developments affect the current state of American standardized testing, its fluctuating but ubiquitous presence in the college admissions process, and the perpetuation of the test-prep industry decades after its origins.
Title: SELLING "DREAM INSURANCE": THE STANDARDIZED TEST-PREPARATION INDUSTRY'S SEARCH FOR LEGITIMACY, 1946-1989.
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Name(s): Shepherd, Keegan, Author
Crepeau, Richard, Committee Chair
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2011
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This thesis analyzes the origins, growth, and legitimization of the standardized test preparation ("test-prep") industry from the late 1940s to the end of the 1980s. In particular, this thesis focuses on the development of Stanley H. Kaplan Education Centers, Ltd. ("Kaplan") and The Princeton Review ("TPR"), and how these companies were most conducive in making the test-prep industry and standardized test-preparation itself socially acceptable. The standardized test most frequently discussed in this thesis is the Scholastic Aptitude Test ("SAT"), especially after its development came under the control of Educational Testing Service ("ETS"), but due attention is also given to the American College Testing Program ("ACT"). This thesis argues that certain test-prep companies gained legitimacy by successfully manipulating the interstices of American business and education, and brokered legitimacy through the rhetorical devices in their advertising. However, the legitimacy for the industry at-large was gained by default as neither the American government nor the American public could conclusively demonstrate that the industry conducted wholesale fraud. The thesis also argues that standardized test manufacturers were forced to engage in a cat-and-mouse game of pseudo-antagonism and adaptation with the test-prep industry once truth-in-testing laws prescribed transparent operations in standardized testing. These developments affect the current state of American standardized testing, its fluctuating but ubiquitous presence in the college admissions process, and the perpetuation of the test-prep industry decades after its origins.
Identifier: CFE0003746 (IID), ucf:48792 (fedora)
Note(s): 2011-05-01
M.A.
Arts and Humanities, Department of History
Masters
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): test-prep
standardized test preparation
standardized testing
ETS
Educational Testing Service
Henry Chauncey
SAT
Scholastic Aptitude Test
ACT
American College Testing Program
TPR
The Princeton Review
John Katzman
Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Centers
Stanley Kaplan
CEEB
College Board
truth-in-testing
advertisements
advertising
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0003746
Restrictions on Access: public 2011-04-01
Host Institution: UCF

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