Test-Prep Giant Stanley Kaplan Dead at 90

Founder of test-prep firm challenged thinking about SAT
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2009 9:00 AM CDT
Kaplan IT Learning.   (PRNewsFoto/Kaplan IT Learning)
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(Newser) – Stanley Kaplan, founder of the test-prep behemoth that bears his name, died this weekend of heart failure at age 90, the Washington Post reports. Kaplan’s company not only helped millions of students level the playing field in what he described as a “poor man’s private school” but also smashed a widely-believed fallacy—that the SAT measured the innate ability to learn, and therefore couldn’t be studied for.

After planning to become a doctor, Kaplan was rejected from five New York medical schools because they had already filled their quota of Jewish students. The rejections fueled a lifelong desire to make education more meritocratic. Despite dogged resistance from the College Board, Kaplan built his test-prep firm into a hugely profitable empire—bought by the Washington Post Co. in 1984, the firm accounted for 58% of the company’s revenue last quarter.