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Establishing Goals of Quality Assurance – The Company and The Problem
The company of interest is a large, well-known educational firm specializing in test-prep services for various standardized tests, such as the SAT, GRE, and LSAT. For privacy and confidentiality reasons, it is best that the company’s name be kept out of this report. My knowledge of the company’s internal workings, strategies, and problems is based on near-firsthand experience with the firm. It suffices to know that my familiarity with the firm is extensive enough to motivate and inform this proposal to the extent that it should prove both edifying and useful.
However, it is readily apparent here at the outset of the proposal that an educational firm poses a range of questions and problems for any effort aimed at systematic, successful Quality Assurance. This is not a firm in the business of producing and delivering widgets, strictly speaking, though more on this shortly. Moreover, this is not a firm in the business of delivering a service as it is commonly understood in, say, the restaurant or food service business. Teaching, broadly, is a complicated thing, where success generally isn’t readily quantifiable, definable, or even attributable in simple causal terms. This is certainly true of traditional classroom education, where, arguably, genuine learning—inspiration even—are the ultimate goals. The standardized-test field is a different animal, however – at least superficially.
Prima facie, the goals are simple: develop a widget-like proprietary method of teaching the test in question, with the method sufficiently differentiated from the methods of one’s competitors; find teachers able to teach that proprietary method; attract students willing to subject themselves to the method in the hope of maximizing their odds of success on the standardized test; hopefully indeed maximize the odds of students’ success on the standardized...
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