Chances are, you’ve heard of Lanop’s proposed NT-CIP certification. You’ve probably read, as several media outlets have reported, that the NT-CIP will extend Microsoft’s Windows NT 4.0 certification. Here’s what you haven’t read.

Who’s going to offer the tests?
Don’t bet that VUE will be handling the NT-CIP exams, even though Lanop’s Web site stated that both VUE and Prometric would administer the NT-CIP exams beginning Jan. 1, 2001. Lanop’s Web site made that claim until TechRepublic talked with Lanop founder, John Goodfriend, on Oct. 9, 2000.

Scott Allison, VUE’s global director of marketing, said VUE isn’t prepared to launch NT-CIP exams. “I guess what I can tell you is that we currently have no contract to do so,” Allison said.

When we asked if Goodfriend had jumped the gun by stating on Lanop’s Web site that VUE would be a testing provider, we received a similar answer.

“The only thing I can comment on is that we don’t have a contract with him at this point,” Allison confirmed.

Just how prepared is VUE to offer these tests, a partnership that would play a pivotal role in launching the new certification, in less than 10 weeks?

“I don’t believe we’ve had any discussions with him about it,” Allison said.

What about Prometric, another testing center that the Lanop site stated last week would be administering the NT-CIP tests?

“They have contacted us for a general information packet that we have sent out. It’s that vanilla. We have no plans. We have no contract. We’ve had no discussions,” said Jeannette Bair, executive director of Prometric’s Microsoft business unit.

What are the chances that Prometric will begin offering the NT-CIP exams on Jan. 1, 2001, as Lanop’s Web site states and several other industry media have reported?

“Slim to none” was Bair’s answer.

Lanop also faces legal issues
Further research on the issue revealed that New York city-based Lanop, which is driving the creation of the NT-CIP certification, is operating in violation of New York state law.

An official with the New York State Department of Education said that all facilities that accept tuition and provide educational training in the Empire State must be licensed by the Department of Education. Lanop is not licensed, according to Monica Borden, an assistant with the department.

TechRepublic was told that an investigation is underway targeting Lanop’s ongoing violation of state law. Disciplinary action could result in a fine as large as $50,000, and it’s possible that criminal sanctions could be imposed, as well.

What impact will the legal issues have?
Would the fact that Lanop is operating in violation of New York state law make a difference as to whether VUE participates in the NT-CIP program?

Allison confirmed that it would.

“We have a goal to continue our development of the world’s best test delivery channel, and ethics and legal issues, security, all of those things are incredibly important to us.”

He continued, “If an organization has been proven to be in violation of certain laws that pertain to education and training or other things, they would certainly not fit our ideal profile of a partner.”

The discrepancy
Goodfriend said Lanop is operating in compliance with New York state law, and that the law in question doesn’t apply to Lanop.

“We’re not a training center like anybody else. We’re test preparation only. We’re really like Stanley Kaplan. We do no classes except for certification,” Goodfriend claimed.

He added, “The law hasn’t changed in 12 years now, so what can I tell you?”

Investigators, apparently, don’t see it that way.

“That’s part of the confusion we have with John [Goodfriend],” said New York State Education Department official Howard Goldsmith. “John doesn’t want to believe the law has changed no matter how many times we tell him that.”

Goldsmith also listed several ways in which Lanop differs from Stanley Kaplan.

“First of all, Kaplan is training students exclusively in the areas of reading, math, and reading comprehension,” he said. “These areas are specifically exempt under Section 5001(2)(f) of the Education Law. Lanop is training people in the computer technology field, which has been intentionally included in the 1999 statutory amendments.”

In addition, there are issues associated with the end goal of the training students receive.

“Kaplan trains students so that they can improve their scores on tests that are used by colleges and graduate schools for admission,” Goldsmith said. “Nobody gets trained at Kaplan with the expectation that they can use that training to secure employment. Students at Lanop specifically go to that school for the purpose of obtaining skills that will directly lead to employment. The purpose of taking certification exams or tests at the end of the computer training is to use the training and certifications to secure employment in the computer technology field.”

The facts
Here’s how the facts add up:

  • Lanop has claimed that the two leading test providers will offer NT-CIP exams. In fact, both testing centers, VUE and Prometric, say they have no plans to do so.
  • Without the support of the testing centers, it’s doubtful that Lanop will find IT professionals flocking to its new certification—particularly considering that Lanop may soon be fighting civil and criminal charges.

Further comment from state officials appears unlikely. Goldsmith told TechRepublic that “the matter is currently under investigation and will now be handled by attorneys for SED, the Office of the [New York] Attorney General, and most likely counsel obtained by Mr. Goodfriend.”
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