PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Anxiety of high school juniors and seniors and their parents has created a market for a large test preparation industry promising increases in test scores through classes and tutoring often with money-back guarantees.

Experts suggest parents look carefully for the most cost-effective and appropriate program for their kids since there is no federal oversight of the industry, mentioning that a $25 test-prep book or free online tests may be all that’s needed.

Commercial programs usually include a review of test content, practice questions and orientation to the test format. Derek Briggs at the University of Colorado’s school of education examined how much increases in scores can be attributed to such prep. Briggs found that such coaching is positive but far from what the industry claims, as did Consumer Reports. Both the Princeton Review and Kaplan programs have backed off of specific claims.

More advice is offered in a recent Education Week article—that the best preparation for admission tests is a strong curriculum — good math and English high school classes, since colleges look at grades as well in making decisions.

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

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