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October 4, 2023

An Alleged Insider Warns About ‘Chaos and Hell’ Behind the Scenes at Prometric

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Spotted this on r/CPA today, thought it worth sharing because Prometric closures are awful and can easily derail anyone’s CPA exam plan, especially the Type A among you who have never met a punch with which you feel safe to roll. So what’s going on?

If you’re scheduled to test with Prometric, may the odds be ever in your favor.

Soon to be ex-proctor here. Just a heads up on the chaos and hell going on behind the scenes. Prometric got a new CEO a couple of months ago and he has gone scorched earth with cost cutting. “Low revenue” test sites (like mine) are being closed. And they have eliminated over 75 center manager positions effective April 19th.

What does this mean for you as a test taker? Well, be prepared for sporadic center closures. It has already happened in a few centers ( Wilkes Barre, PA and Sarasota, FL I know of for sure). Also, less than motivated staff taking care of your exam. I’m doing my best personally to hold it together. But it is quite stressful not knowing what the next day brings.

It stinks because it was a nice job to pick up during the pandemic. If you’re a manager whose position is being eliminated, your choices are to stay on as a proctor with a pay cut or take a severance. I was offered a position at either one of 2 centers almost an hour from my home. I instead chose to take the severance. Thankfully I have gig work to fall back on.

I hope CPA has other companies to test with. It’s going to get worse before it gets worse at Prometric.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets worse” is my new favorite saying.

Prometric did get a new CEO in February, Stuart Udell. Udell is “a 30-year education industry veteran,” most recently serving as CEO of Achieve3000, “a leading software and services provider of reading and math intervention and acceleration solutions.” Before that, he served as CEO of “other prominent EdTech organizations” including virtual school operator K12, Inc.; intervention and specialized services provider Catapult Learning; and online career education provider Penn Foster. He specializes in assessment, career education, test preparation, curriculum, and other areas of educational technology and service delivery, says the news release about his new gig.

Prometric Chief Executive Officer, Stuart Udell.

Let’s talk about his gig at K12. He resigned from K12 — now called Stride — in March 2018. Here’s a story about that:

The CEO of the major for-profit online education provider K12 Inc., Stuart J. Udell, has resigned his post after the company said that its board decided to “redefine his responsibilities.”

The publicly traded Herndon, Va.-based company announced the shakeup Tuesday. It said that the company’s chairman of the board, Nathaniel Davis, who served as CEO from 2014 to 2016, will take over the post again with Udell’s departure.

Udell’s resignation will take effect on March 2, the company said in a statement.

The company’s board had sought from Udell a “narrowing of his responsibilities” that would have been a departure from the “original scope of his work,” said Michael Kraft, K12’s vice-president of finance, public relations, and corporate communications, in an interview.

Davis will assume the CEO role on a permanent, not an interim basis, holding that position “for the foreseeable future,” Kraft said.

K12 Inc. is one of the most polarizing companies operating in the school space. It is the largest commercial operator of online schools in the United States, but the lackluster academic record of its schools has come under fire in many states. (See Education Week’s reporting on the scrutiny of K12-operated online schools in Indiana, and the company’s political influence, in our in-depth series on shortcomings in the cyber charter world, as one example.)

Around the time that Stuart dipped out, K12 pivoted away from education into career training. Here’s a U.S. News article on that if you care, this backstory is already running too long.

We haven’t heard of widespread Prometric closures, though shuttering low volume centers sounds more than plausible especially if there’s a new CEO who wants to hit the ground running on profitability. This could also have something to do with Prometric’s remote testing service ProProctor. Though a remote CPA exam from the comfort of home is just a pipe dream for now, plenty of other professional licensing bodies allow candidates to test remotely using this service which means fewer bodies at testing centers.

You can see temporary Prometric site closures on their site here, always a good idea to check ahead of test day so you don’t get hit with an unexpected note telling you to go away.

If you have more information on happenings behind the scenes at Prometric, get in touch.

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