Avoid plagiarism with The Princeton Review

It looks like everyone’s favorite* college ranking service has let some sensitive data slip from their computers. According to The New York Times:

The Princeton Review, the test-preparatory firm, accidentally published the personal data and standardized test scores of tens of thousands of Florida students on its Web site, where they were available for seven weeks.

It looks like Wes students are unaffected, but it’s interesting to note that reporters for the Times found other goodies on the rogue web page, including directions for its test prep writers on how to avoid plagiarism when they’re creating their test prep materials:

One folder on the Web site gave unusual insight into how test preparation companies use older exams to prepare their practice tests. The folder contained digital scans of eight official SATs and six PSAT exams from 2005 through 2007. The tests are created by the Educational Testing Service, a nonprofit organization in Princeton, N.J.

An accompanying guide for Princeton Review exam writers, dated January 2008, said that the company’s “current SAT course diagnostic tests are not as reflective of the real E.T.S. tests as they should be.” It then described “spiraling,” or writing a new practice question based on an old question from the official test. The document instructs authors to avoid copyright infringement by obeying the “three word rule” — ensuring that no three consecutive words remain the same.

So, there you have it: swap every third word, and the Honor Board won’t be seeing you any time soon. Heh… riiight.

*Aww, we still love you, U.S. News.

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