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CB-Karen Dillard case settled-no cancelled scores

missypiemissypie 17982 replies503 threads Senior Member
edited May 2008 in Parents Forum
We just got this press release in an email:

The College Board and Karen Dillard's College Prep LP ("KDCP") today announced a settlement of the College Board's copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit against KDCP, the company's owners and its executive director. Under the terms of the settlement, KDCP will pay $1 million, including $400,000 in test preparation services supplied free of charge to low-income high school students. KDCP will also be bound by an agreed court-issued injunction that bars it from any future infringements of the College Board's copyrights and trademarks in SAT and PSAT/NMSQT test forms and programs.

The College Board has concluded its investigation and has determined that no student PSAT or SAT scores will need to be canceled.

All claims in the lawsuit will be dismissed with prejudice. KDCP is also withdrawing its own assertions that certain of its employees engaged in misconduct.

Laurence Bunin, Senior Vice President for Operations at the College Board, expressed great satisfaction with the settlement: "The College Board depends on the trust and confidence that high schools, colleges and students have in the integrity of our exams, including the SAT. That trust and confidence is jeopardized when tests are used in ways that are unauthorized and that put the test security at risk. We believe that the settlement shows that KDCP acted improperly in copying and distributing a secure SAT test form and other College Board materials. We have demonstrated that we cannot and will not tolerate such conduct, and that we will take all appropriate steps to protect our tests."

Karen Dillard, Managing Partner of KDCP, also expressed satisfaction with the settlement. She said, "We are pleased to get this lawsuit behind us and get back to our business of working with students. We recognize now that KDCP should have been more careful in handling College Board materials, and going forward KDCP is committed to respecting the College Board's intellectual property rights. This settlement affords us the opportunity to provide our services to students who might otherwise be unable to take our courses."

The parties have agreed to limit their comments about the settlement to this press release.
edited May 2008
25 replies
Post edited by missypie on
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Replies to: CB-Karen Dillard case settled-no cancelled scores

  • Lafalum84Lafalum84 7382 replies150 threads Senior Member
    Yay for the students who would have been penalized for the SAT Prep company's mistakes.
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  • xiggixiggi 24571 replies872 threads Senior Member
    Under the terms of the settlement, KDCP will pay $1 million, including $400,000 in test preparation services supplied free of charge to low-income high school students.

    One million dollars? So much for the earlier denials and indignation. It is extremely doubtful that this case was all about a leaked PSAT and a couple of copy-happy secretaries at KDCP.

    That's an expensive slap on the wrist.
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  • bandnerd91321bandnerd91321 381 replies15 threads Member
    Actually, it is only $600K and $400K in services to low income. With the money that place brings in, it is a slap on the wrist. The $600K is only about 300 students, which is a drop in the bucket. That is probably a week or two of enrollment!
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  • HuntHunt 26787 replies131 threads Senior Member
    And it may be their insurance company that is paying it.
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  • missypiemissypie 17982 replies503 threads Senior Member
    I'm just relieved that my son's SAT scores won't be cancelled!
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  • xiggixiggi 24571 replies872 threads Senior Member
    M-pie, I am also happy to read your son's scores were not cancelled. While I obviously know none of the details, I think that TCB would have a hard time linking the students to the fraud and have conclusive evidence that one particular student did have a suspect test.
    Actually, it is only $600K and $400K in services to low income. With the money that place brings in, it is a slap on the wrist. The $600K is only about 300 students, which is a drop in the bucket. That is probably a week or two of enrollment!

    $600,000 is a whole lot of money, and I seriously doubt that the stream of income is so large to make such a settlement an afterthought.

    As far as "one or two weeks" of enrollment, one might expect to see parents in Dallas to exercise some caution in selecting a SAT prep company. Even if I would never have recommended them in the first place, there are now a few highly publicized reasons to avoid that place altogether as a client and ... an employee.
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  • mizzou-mommizzou-mom 284 replies11 threads Junior Member
    xiggi, that really is not a whole lot of money to a business as booming as Karen's. Have you ever seen their parking lot on a Saturday? Many, many high achieving kids go thru that course in this area. During the summer, everyday the place is packed. I can only imagine the Plano facility with their population. We are not talking small potatoes here.
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  • missypiemissypie 17982 replies503 threads Senior Member
    I always thought that the threat of cancellation of scores was an extreme tactic designed to ruin KD's business...the court issued a gag order a couple of days after suit was filed, so I sense they thought the same thing. It was a copyright infringement suit. Pretty outrageous for the CB to threaten to jeaopardize the college admissions of hundreds of students over a copyright dispute.

    (Of course, before all of this broke, I posted here complaining of KD, because after paying lots of $$$ and devoting scores of hours to classes, my son's PSAT score increased by TWO POINTS.)
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  • mizzou-mommizzou-mom 284 replies11 threads Junior Member
    I think the CB was just flexing its muscle. The tests in question were really just a part of her program. I'm sorry it didn't pay off for you that much. She helped my son get NMF, so it was BIG money for us. And really, the alternatives are just as pricey. The Princeton Review is MUCH more, if you take into account it is only 8 weeks or so. We are hoping the downturn in business for KD might see a reduction in prices, as #3 son is coming up in a year!
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  • newmassdadnewmassdad 3792 replies56 threads Senior Member
    KDcp:
    The KDCP Duke TIP SAT Program that provides SAT prep for those seventh graders who have been invited to participate in the Duke Talent Identification Program.

    Unbelievable. Test Prep for a talent search program!
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  • missypiemissypie 17982 replies503 threads Senior Member
    I will say that I have never seen any 7th grade looking folks at KD, so I doubt if there are many takers for that program.
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  • mizzou-mommizzou-mom 284 replies11 threads Junior Member
    I know several people who have their kids take the SAT in 7th grade. Why? Let them be kids.....but to each their own! You hear of people getting tutors to get their preschoolers into the right kindergarten in some parts of the country, so why not 7th graders!!!
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  • xiggixiggi 24571 replies872 threads Senior Member
    I think the CB was just flexing its muscle. The tests in question were really just a part of her program.

    Unfortunately, the tests in question are obviously not a trivial matter. Any sound SAT course should be based almost entirely on those "tests." The only difference is that KD decided it was easier to use material without proper payment nor acknowledgment--which is a nicer way to express than saying she decided to steal and distributed TCB materials as the Pirated versions.

    Having legal access to copyrighted material from TCB is both the boon and the bane of the SAT prep industry. Companies can opt to create their own imitations and end up with synthetic tests that rarely reach an acceptable level or concentrate on the materials that are legally distributed.

    The message of TCB is that anyone should be able to prepare adequately by sticking to legally-obtained materials. And, on this one, I have to agree 100% with TCB and ETS. Flexing its muscle, in this case, was not only appropriate but just. While this may not be clear at first, branding cheating outfits with a red mark is something that should help everyone, with the notable exception of the thousands who are and have been mesmerized by hollow promises of fraudsters.
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  • missypiemissypie 17982 replies503 threads Senior Member
    With the Duke TIPs program, your child is "invited" to take the SAT. The kids think it's a cool thing, and my daughter certainly knew who in her classes wasn't invited! But after having two 7th graders go through this, my youngest isn't going to have to (assuming she is given the honor of being invited.) I see no purpose in it.
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  • xiggixiggi 24571 replies872 threads Senior Member
    Unbelievable. Test Prep for a talent search program!

    First step in the "Be like Father Ghosh" program. Cheaper and shorter than the next one that involves quitting the job to run the three-year application process.

    PS Preparing for the 7th grade test is ridiculous. Paying for a prep service at this level is utterly ridiculous, and this regardless of the price and targeted prize.
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  • mizzou-mommizzou-mom 284 replies11 threads Junior Member
    I don't know what the cut-offs for that TIPS thing is, but all three of my kids were "invited" to take it in 7th grade. Obviously, it isn't too exclusive as I couldn't see one of them qualifying in any way(he is a dear, though!). I think it is way too much pressure to start them that early and unnecessary. Although I know many people who would disagree with me.
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  • arkitexarkitex 53 replies2 threads Junior Member
    m-pie - my D took Princeton Review and it increased her score by only 1 point! However, I've heard speculation that the test the year she took PSAT was more difficult than previous years and the scores were overall lower that year.

    Have several friends whose kids did very well utilizing KD; after talking to them about their program it appears very well organized and thorough - so we're going to take the gamble with them on second child. It seems like it could be worth the investment based on their experiences.
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  • missypiemissypie 17982 replies503 threads Senior Member
    Arkitex, in my book KD needs to do better diagnositcs at the beginning of the program...for what you're paying, you should get a bit of individual attention.

    My son was already quite strong in CR but weak in math. As the KD course progessed, his CR score went down as his math score rose. Whatever they were teaching in CR was messing with his natural ability to answer the questions. So, after disappointing PSAT and December SAT results, I had him keep going to KD for math and told him to forget everything they taught him in CR. His March math score improved by 70 points and his CR score improved by 50 points.

    Just wish I'd figured this out before the PSAT so at least he could have been Commended!
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  • amyjohnsonamyjohnson 4 replies0 threads New Member
    I personally would NEVER send my second child to Karen Dillard's. For one thing, this was not just a "slap on the wrist" by the College Board. I'm pretty sure I've read that College Board has sued other test-prep companies before for far, far, far less money. This huge amount of money -- one MILLION dollars -- that Karen must pay -- both out of her pocket and as scholarships for needy students -- simply demonstrates that she was guilty of some MAJOR wrongdoing.

    Keep in mind this wasn't just a copyright infringement lawsuit. College Board was also very concerned about test security after KDCP obtained the October PSAT and the "PVA" test. THAT'S why they thought about cancelling scores. Karen even came out on the local tv news when this all broke and said they had the PSAT at 4-5 PM that day..after testing was already done. She's right -- testing was done -- but only in the East Coast and central time zones. Thousands of kids in Hawaii and Alaska and at American schools in military bases in Asia, Australia, etc. were still taking that test. So having it in her possession is a huge violation of test security. That's why College Board made noise about cancelling test scores -- this could have been a huge security breach. I don't think anyone should treat this situation lightly. I personally would never want my 2nd child attending a school owned by someone who apprears to have violated so many laws and ethical mores...that's not the kind of attitude I would want my child to be around.

    Furthermore, now that College Board has put a stop to KDCP's use of its curriculum, I bet you KDCP simply doesn't have any good curriculum left. A huge, huge part of KDCP's curriculum was lifted from College Board...any student can go through his or her KDCP binder and see that. Now that THAT material can no longer be used, KDCP will have to scramble to create new material that mimics the test. If the College Board itself is saying the cost of creating a single test is over $600,000, you can imagine how much time and effort KDCP will have to put into creating new curriculum. In the meantime -- probably for the next few years -- its curriculum will be very poor, and students who enroll there will suffer as a result.

    With KDCP on the test-maker's bad side, I'd caution parents from enrolling their child at KDCP's. Why take a risk? I think other posters on here are right...it might be wisest to take a look around at what other companies have to offer.

    Just my $0.02.
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  • newmassdadnewmassdad 3792 replies56 threads Senior Member
    IF you looked at the CB data regarding scores kids get in subsequent test administrations (at least at the data 5 years ago when I last searched the CB site. It may be gone now!) one could easily see how these test prep companies get away with their claims. Statistically, most kids have a rise in scores. And if you look at the distribution in score rise, quite a few have these 100 point jumps. Some, although far fewer, have 100 point drops. And the biggest changes are between spring jr year and fall senior year.

    The biggest reason for these jumps, most test professionals believe, is not experience with the test or coaching, just maturity and the learning that goes on at this age. So, if one assumes that there is even a small coachable element in the tests, then the coachable element coupled with time makes ofr a can't lose combination for these test prep folks, especially when their downside in only to let the kid repeat the course (like there's time to do so fall of senior year...)
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