Sylvan to shed test-writing unit 7 workers, $1 million in revenue are shifted

April 10, 1996|By Jay Hancock | Jay Hancock,SUN STAFF

Sylvan Learnings Systems Inc. is abandoning the test-writing trade, and shifting seven employees and "less than $1 million" in revenue to a division of its business partner, Educational Testing Service, company officials said yesterday.

Columbia-based Sylvan will retain its major business of administering tests and providing other educational services to schools, family and employers. The new setup clarifies ETS' role as the test producer and Sylvan's as the test retailer in the organizations' two-year relationship, company officials and financial analysts said.

Creating professional-certification exams and other tests was "not a significant part" of Sylvan's business, said spokeswoman Vickie Glazar. Yesterday's move, she said, "makes sense strategically because [ETS'] expertise is in content and Sylvan's is in distribution."

Sylvan acquired test-making capacity last year when it bought Drake Prometric, a Bloomington, Minn.-based company that specialized in computerized tests for high-tech workers.

The deal included Drake's seven-worker test-development house in Provo, Utah. That office now will be part of ETS' Chauncey Group, a for-profit subsidiary that creates tests for government and business.

The change won't affect Sylvan's Columbia headquarters, Ms. Glazar said.

Chauncey paid nothing for the Utah unit, officials said. "Less than $1 million" in annual revenue will shift from Sylvan to Chauncey as a result of the change, said Donald Clapp, Chauncey's executive vice president.

Sylvan is keeping the bulk of the Drake operation, renamed Sylvan Prometric, and its 250 workers and 734 testing centers.

ETS owns a minority stake in Sylvan stock.

Assigning all test-development duties to ETS "seems logical," said John J. Rezai, who follows Sylvan for investment house Pryor, McClendon, Counts in Philadelphia. Sylvan, he said, "has become a real service-oriented type of company."

Pub Date: 4/10/96

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