ALL POSTSKids FranchisesLearningRX

LearningRX Complaints: Falsified Test Results

LearningRX Complaints:  Falsified Test Results. 

( According to the LearningRx franchise website: “LearningRx is one of the top educational and child franchises in the nation. We change lives every day through the incredible power of brain training! Our programs are designed to target weak cognitive skills and help anyone from age 4 to 94 to achieve guaranteed results.”

LearningRx franchise centers promise guaranteed results for children and adults with ADD, ADHD, autism, dyslexia, reading problems, learning disabilities and other challenges. 


LearningRX programs are pricey, often costing $5000 – $15,000.  However, part of the LearningRX sales pitch is that they guarantee results – or your money back.   However, some former LearningRX employees have claimed that their LearningRX franchise either put undue pressure (and financial incentives) on testers to do whatever it takes produce positive test results – and thereby avoid a refund.

Others claimed they were blatantly instructed to falsify test scores to exaggerate the effect of their program.

Are you familiar with the LearningRX franchise? Please share a comment below.

Does LearningRX Falsify Test Results?

Some allege that some LearningRX franchise locations intentionally falsify test results to show bogus improvement – and avoid paying refunds.

thetruthbetold wrote:

I worked for learningRx in a management position and as a trainer… i witnessed test scores being changed to persuade parents to sign up or continue after completion… It is grossly overcharged without a flat rate so each family pays what the owners can get out of them! …its not the program itself that’s a problem it is the fact that now franchisees can open up shop, claim to be pseudo-medical and exploit children with disabilities by taking advantage of their desperate families…

ErinM wrote:

I worked for them for many years, and they are EXTREMELY corrupt. The trainers are all great people who do exactly as they are told, and help motivate the students. However, they will scam you out of your money and falsify test results. I felt guilty being a part of it after a while.

Lauren P. wrote:

I worked with a LearningRx franchise for 2 years before taking on the role as a test examiner. Shortly after taking on the role, the director pulled me aside and complained about the lack of growth in the final testings I had administered. He said it was very important to remember that our success as a center relies on results found in the final tests and that basically my paycheck relied on seeing growth in the final tests. I’m not stupid and I know what he was asking me to do…  I refused to alter final testing scores and was fired from the role. The excuse was that I was not administering the test correctly. I was heartbroken. All of the results I thought my own students were achieving were false. The director was willing to trick parents and manipulate a credible test like the WJIII to make money. It seems most, if not all of these franchises carry this attitude about testing and it’s all about the buck with the directors. I would advise buyer beware.

first-hand-experience wrote:

I also was in management with LearningRx. Let me start by saying, I worked at two different locations (each with different owners). I started as a receptionist and tester and worked my way up to Assistant Director. The first center I worked at was everything negative you’ve heard so far. Everything from falsifying test scores to trying to make her employees claim they were independent contractors…

Are LearningRX Test Results Intentionally Skewed?

Others allege that the type and frequency of testing used by LearningRX skews results to indicate progress that doesn’t exist.

One commenter states that progress demonstrated is a result of LearningRX “teaching for the test.” 

Alan Balter writes:

…The training is specific to the woodcock johnson III, so if I pretest you and you score badly, then train you specifically to the test, then you show growth ( i would hope), did you really grow? It would be like giving you all the answers to the SAT or intelligene quota and then saying you’re brilliant or belong in MENSA when you do well. bottom line they’re not accurately measuring the programs true effectiveness by not accounting for threats to internal and external validity.

Allison Edge agrees:

As a trainer and tester at Learningrx, I’d like to say that you should be careful when going there. Standardized assessments like the initial and supplemental tests are not meant to be given more than once a year. LearningRx gives them every 4-6 months. This allows the student to get a higher than average score on the test…

Is The LearningRX Guarantee Deceptive?

sydneysjrstate wrote:

Keep in mind the tests they use to measure grade improvement don’t necessarily correspond to what children are doing in school, and if your child shows two grade level improvements on THEIR TESTS, they get to keep YOUR MONEY!

Lisa wrote:

If you are not familiar with the system, the entrance test and exit test is identical. LearningRX bases success on whether or not the person being trained moves beyond what they are initially able to complete on the test. For instance, if he/she is able to do 3 out of 8 steps on the test when he/she first takes the test, but completes 5 out of 8 when they complete all training, LearningRX has succeeded in helping the person. So, on paper and according to their guarantee, their program has worked. However, there was absolutely NO improvement in any of the areas that had been discussed during the initial visit! In fact, some grades were even worse while taking the training – this was explained away as “normal” at the half-way review point.

Barbara Crewell wrote:

My daughter went through this program at the beginning of this year… now that she is in 8th grade everything has just gone downhill. She has worse grades than ever and has dozens of missing assignments. So I feel like I threw away 7,000 dollars on the product that has no true guarantee. Your guarantee is if she doesn’t improve they will give you an extra month free. That doesn’t sound like a guarantee at all. Maybe if it doesn’t work they refund your damn money, how bout that?

What do you think? 

Do LearningRX franchise owners falsify test results?

Is the LearningRX system skewed to indicate imaginary progress?

Are LearningRX trainers and testers under pressure to return positive results, even if it requires questionable tactics?



94 thoughts on “LearningRX Complaints: Falsified Test Results

  • Former LRX

    Thanks for sharing this information Jan. What I know….

    1. LearningRx, Learning RX, LRX did make a lot of claims. Especially the director at the center where I worked and as I’ve said, I was extremely uncomfortable with these claims. I read the article you referred to. The FTC got this spot on except for agreeing to only $200,000 in damages.The owners all live in very nice houses. Ken Gibson lives on a hill west of Colorado Springs in a mansion that overlooks the city.

    2. I think Kim Hanson was a school teacher. I think she has her bachelor’s. Unconfirmed. I think she lives in Monument, Colorado.

    3. Tanya Mitchell is a liar. See her pretending to be someone else at the top of this thread. I think she lives/lived in Colorado Springs — Rockrimmon area?

    4. The fact that LRX LearningRx Learning RX did their own pre- and post-testing; that I personally saw cheating on these tests; that one of the people in my center saw cheating while visiting other centers; that the director of training in the corporate center in Colorado Springs told me that she plays tricks with final testing to get good results (this is the center on Woodmen Rd in Colorado Springs, Colorado and is owned by the home office and was run by Tanya Michell at one point) all point to this result.

    I hope the franchisees bring a civil lawsuit and get some of their money back. It is terrible that nice people (some are very nice) are harmed in this. Most franchisees are completely unqualified to talk about the brain or brain research. There is a post online about a franchisee who was a former hairdresser. I once heard a franchisee say that he understands how the brain works because he has a patent for electronic neural networks; if you don’t know how unrelated these are, look it up on the network.

    I tried to tone down the claims made at my center. Unsuccessfully. Then left after waiting too long. I told the director that we did not have even close to 100% customer success, yet it was claimed to new customers, doctors, and teachers. I told the director that before the program started, it sounded like this was all that was ever needed and the problem would be solved forever, but then at the end there would be a sell job about how customers needed more or needed to come back before the start of middle school or high school or college. I told him that the claims made in the literature could not be made based on the research that had been done. LearningRx itself said that to do the research of in-center training would cost millions, so they created a digital product and tested that — probably still in progress. They can make no claims. I told the home office that I had seen cheating on testing. I did not tell them that this occurred in my own center — I wasn’t there to get people in trouble. I didn’t tell them that their own director of training (who oversaw testing) told me she ensured good final results — I wasn’t trying to get her in trouble — and she is long gone now, I think. I told them I talked to someone at a center where the trainers tested their own students at the end of training and then got bonuses based on that — but I didn’t tell them which center.

    I’m glad the FTC did what they did. Now, I hope that the damage in my community can be undone. Word needs to be spread. I will try to spread it.

    By the by, Lumosity also was making claims that had to be removed from their website. I still think brain exercise is a good thing. I just don’t think you should pay an arm and a leg for it. Lumosity is much less expensive. But as I said above, you can create your own brain exercises.

    All need to look at this article:

    It is something all customers need to know.


    LearningRx has so many negative reviews and people trying to denounce them that their efforts aren’t on doing this legally or morally, but rather on hiring reputation management companies and creating fake positive reviews.

    LearningRx even has websites that don’t use the Learningrx name in the domain which they’ve created to post fake (fabricated) positive reviews. They also have many links from within their own official website on reviews in hopes that customers won’t find the real reviews, which are negative.


    The Learningrx family is repugnant and Machiavellian in associating their company religious values of wanting to help children because it requires you to rely on faith rather than science and it leads you to believe they are good people when they are simply predators pulling your emotional strings. It is so disgusting how they tie their fraud to religion, but they realize that talking about religion combined with their “life changing” programs makes it easier to believe their results through faith in miracles, because science is certainly not on their side.

  • Former LearningRx Franchisee

    There is much written (See “Older Comments”) that is important to read. I think all prospective franchisees, prospective customers, and prospective business partners of LearningRx should read those comments thoroughly. Those comments are substantially and pervasively true.

    Avoid LearningRx. The FTC got it right in this case. As a specific example, I was working on an advertising piece, when I asked the home office for citations to support the claims I had written into the piece. The claims were all copied from other LearningRx marketing materials, I found out that the claims were not at all supported by science. They could give me no references, no citations, nothing — not a single one. I killed the piece and THAT moment was the beginning of the end for me as a franchisee.

    After that, I continued on as a franchisee, but the scales started to fall from my eyes and I saw the depth of the deceptions and the conflicts of interest built into the business. I believe LearningRx is full of good people doing bad things because of these built in conflicts of interest (and well-meaning ignorance).

    I think the home office is more culpable than the franchisees themselves: Ken Gibson (founder), Dean Tenpas (CEO), Kim Hanson, Tanya Mitchell, and Brett Gibson. These are the folks that created the business model; these are the folks that enforce it.

    I think another perspective is important to capture — the perspective of the former franchisee as a franchisee — from franchisee training to opening the business to running the business. I am writing a document targeted at current and prospective franchisees.

    More to come… I promise. [LearningRx = Learning RX = LRX]

  • Former Franchisees

    Today is a big day. We are posting the final drafts of each of the sections of the document referred to in the previous post. These will be posted one after another, then consolidated into one longer document to be posted together. However, posting these consecutively on here will help us ‘put each one in the bag’ only to be changed in minor ways before consolidation into the final document. We warn you in advance that there will be a lot of posts. Enjoy the reading.

  • Former Franchisees

    Who is the Intended Audience?

    If you are considering becoming a LearningRx (Learning RX) franchisee, this
    material will help you with your due diligence.

    If you are a past, present, or future customer of LearningRx, this material will
    help you understand the LearningRx business and product. It will also help you
    understand the conflicts that affect you as a customer.

    If you are a competing product or service, some of these conflicts may apply to
    your business also.

  • Former Franchisees

    Why are We Writing?

    As a former franchisee, we are creating this document to help current and
    future franchisees understand the inherent conflicts in the LearningRx Business

    Conflicts of interests abound within this business model and these conflicts
    explain much of what franchisees do within this system.

    We wish we had been told these things before we wasted good time and money
    inside this business.

    The conflicts that appear in this document fall into these categories:

    * conflicts between the franchisee’s interests and the client’s interests
    * conflicts between the franchisee’s interests and the employee’s interests

    We hope these things help you measure your steps before becoming a LearningRx

  • Former Franchisees


    By the by, these materials are written and edited by one of us and reviewed and edited by the other. One of the things I am struggling with is mixing first person singular (I) and first person plural (we) as I write. The previous post mixed these. It should be plural (we).

    I suspect, there will be times when we will intentionally use first personal singular (I) because only one of us observed or experienced that particular item. When we are all done, we’ll post all the corrections that we find — striving for both accuracy and perfection.

  • Former Franchisees

    *** Franchisee Training ***

    Imagine you are starting LearningRx Franchisee Training today. You arrived in
    Colorado Springs last night. You have two weeks ahead of you.

    As you walk across from the Marriott Hotel on Centennial Drive to the LearningRx home office, you turn around and notice how tall and beautiful Pikes Peak is in the morning sunlight — so beautiful! There is a bounce in your step as you walk in the front door, rise up the stairs and walk straight into the training room. You are ready! You are nervous! Let’s start!

    In these two weeks you learn many things that we will refer back to later in these materials.

    * how to answer the phone
    * how to do assessments
    * how to do consultations (meetings to sell your service to customers)
    * how to do brain training
    * how to do advertising and marketing (in its many forms)
    * how to do the accounting
    * how to design your center
    * how to hire, train, and manage your employees
    * and much more.

    As we help you imagine opening and running your business, we are going
    to refer back to these two weeks of training frequently. If we told you everything you need to understand about this training, you’d forget it.

  • Former Franchisees

    *** Opening Your Business ***

    During the flight home, you will daydream about all the children — all the moms — all the families — you are going to help. You know how much work you have ahead of you, but you also know it will be worth it. Your heart is so full of passion and expectation for this business that you cannot wait to start helping others.

    Before you know it, the business is ready, the doors are open, the marketing mailers are hitting mailboxes, and you are trying not to watch the phone as you wait for it to ring off the hook. Then it happens, the phone rings! It is a potential customer!

    It is a mom calling because she is concerned about her daughter…

  • Former Franchisees


    As you can tell, these materials are written from your perspective as a new franchisee. You imagine and feel the weight of the conflicts of interest that you will face as a new franchisee as they arise in your own franchise business. We can write these things because these were our collective experience.

    Similarly, instead of “a parent calling about his or her child,” this first customer interaction will be with a mom calling about her daughter.

  • Former Franchisees

    *** Conflicts of Interest in Answering the Phone ***

    Mom: Hello, I got your mailer. How does your program work and how much does it cost?

    You remember from training that Kim Hanson (daughter of the founder) told you how to answer the phones. These are the rules:

    * Do not tell the customer the cost of the programs on the phone.
    * Do not answer detailed questions about the program on the phone.

    To avoid these questions, you must take control of the conversation like this:

    You: May I ask who you are calling about?

    Mom: My daughter Sarah

    You: How old is Sarah?

    Mom: 10

    You: What are you seeing with Sarah that prompts your call?

    Mom: She really has a hard time paying attention or remembering things.

    You: [Express empathy then…] Our initial assessment is only $199. It will tell you why Sarah is struggling. The assessment takes about one hour. Are you available Thursday at 9AM or Friday at 10AM?

    Your goal is simple (though not as easy as it sounds sometimes), avoid answering questions such as cost and program duration or how the program works by taking control of the conversation. Your goal is to get the parent to schedule an assessment.

  • Former Franchisees

    ##### INHERENT CONFLICT #1 #####

    As a parent, you want to call LearningRx to get a no-hassle answer to your quick questions so that you can decide whether you are interested.

    As a franchisee, you want to postpone answers about cost, program duration, or how the program works until the consultation because you are much more likely to have the interaction result in a sale.

  • Former Franchisees

    *** interjection ***

    As a potential franchisee, you should read from beginning to end as part of your due diligence. However, some may just want an overview of the inherent conflicts in the LearningRx business model; you can look for the posts will all caps INHERENT CONFLICT to find and read these easily and quickly.

  • Former Franchisees

    ## Conflicts of Interest in Initial Assessments

    Sarah’s mom schedules the assessment for Thursday at 9 AM. You promised Sarah’s mom that the assessment will show why Sarah struggles with attention and memory. You want to deliver on that promise and get your first customer. But are even qualified to administer a cognitive skills assessment?

    First, to answer this question, let’s consider the training you received in Franchisee Training.

    At Franchisee Training, three or six months ago now, Dean Tenpas (son-in-law of the founder) gave you less than a day of training on how to do Woodcock-Johnson assessments. Each test was explained briefly, demonstrated, and then you got a bit of time to practice. At the end of the training session, you were told that to finish your certification to become an assessor that you must administer three additional assessments on your own (without any oversight or correction) just to get practice.

    Second, to answer this question, let’s consider one of our experiences in doing assessments in our own center.

    By personality, I am organized, methodical, diligent, and persistent; I wanted to do assessments perfectly. Yet, I still found errors in how I (and others I trained) administered the Woodcock-Johnson III assessment. Many, many, many of the assessments we did had unintential errors in the administering and scoring of the test.

    Third, to answer this question, let’s consider the experience of one of our assessors who went on to be certified to do Woodcock-Johnson III assessments at a university.

    She told me that the standards to become certified at the university were significantly higher than those at LearningRx. The university required more training, more practice, and more oversight to ensuring that the assessment practices were consistent with all testing norms. She said that despite all of my efforts, she still found errors in how the test was administered and scored in my center.

  • Former Franchisees

    ##### INHERENT CONFLICT #2 #####

    As a parent, you are entrusting your child to be assessed by a certified professional assessor because you want the test results to be valid.

    As a franchisee, you are not qualified to do assessments with so little training and so little oversight. You are even less qualified to teach and oversee others as you delegate these responsibilities within your business.

  • Former Franchisees

    ## Lacking Objectivity in Assessing Clients

    Assessments are supposed to be an objective measure of a child’s abilities and/or
    inabilities. Objectivity is key. The assessor must never want the assessment
    instrument to show any particular result — whether good or bad. Sarah’s mom
    expects this.

    Yet every employee in your LearningRx center knows that a low initial assessment
    score is more likely to result in a parent signing up for brain training. Thus,
    there is an inherent bias toward a child performing poorly on the initial assessment in every LearningRx center.

    Keep reading to learn that the attitude of the franchisee, trainers, and
    assessors (all LearningRx employees) is very different when it comes to final
    assessments. This difference is explicit, noticeable, and substantial.

  • Former Franchisees


    As a parent, you are entrusting your child to be assessed by an unbiased
    certified professional assessor. You expect the assessor to be completely
    objective and the results to be as accurate and reliable as possible.

    As a franchisee, you know you are more likely to get a client if the scores are
    low. Thus, by definition, you are biased in that you want the test to lead to a
    customer as often as possible.

  • Former Franchisees

    ## Unqualified to Interpret Assessment Results

    Sarah’s mom will complete paperwork while Sarah is taking her assessment. This
    paperwork asks what mom is observing in Sarah, what she expects from LearningRx, and the severity of Sarah’s struggles. We will call this paperwork the ‘intake form’.

    When you were at Franchisee Training, Ken Gibson himself (the company founder)
    came in to show you how to recommend brain training programs based on the intake form and assessment results.

    The process as taught is really quite simple: look at the intake form to learn
    each parent’s concerns and expectations, then link those concerns (at a
    superficial level) to the assessment results.

    * If the parent is concerned about reading, recommend ReadRx.
    * If the parent is concerned about math skills, recommend MathRx.
    * If both of these is a concern, recommend ReadRx and MathRx (Einstein).
    * If neither of these is a concern, recommend ThinkRx.

    These programs are typically 24 weeks for ReadRx, 24 weeks for MathRx, 12 weeks for ThinkRx. These programs can typically be increased in increments of four weeks.

    In Franchisee Training, every single example client result resulted in a
    recommendation. Ken leaned back and proudly mentioned a period of his life where he was able to sign up 90% of prospective clients. This was presented as a goal for all of us franchisees — sign almost everyone up for a program.

    However, this is not a burger franchise. This is a business where you are
    offering a professional service based on your supposed expertise. What does an
    hour or two of Franchisee training do to make you an expert in assessing Sarah?

    * Are you an expert in brain science?
    * Are you an expert in cogntive skill assessment (Woodcock-Johnson)?
    * Are you an expert at linking linking cognitive skills to brain function?
    * Are you an expert at linking cognitive skills to real-life struggles?

    The sad answer to these questions is that you are an not an expert in any of
    these. You aren’t even competent in any of them. [Dr. Jodi Jedlicka —
    franchisee in Wisconsin — might be able to say she has some of these

    With few exceptions, franchisees are pretenders. They are told to speak with
    confidence in areas where they lack even basic training, knowledge, and skills.
    They are told to be the ‘brain expert in their community.’ You are unqualified
    to interpret thee assessment results.

  • Former Franchisees


    As a parent, you expect a qualified professional to advise you about whether
    there is a correlation between your child’s cognitive abilities and struggles.

    As a franchisee, you present yourself as an expert with the qualifications to
    advise parents. Franchisee training leaves you unqualified in at least these
    ways relative to advising clients:

    * brain science
    * performing assessments
    * interpreting assessments

  • Former Franchisees

    I rewrote the previous two sections as I wrote subsequent sections. Here is a better version of each.

    ## Unqualified to Interpret Assessment Results

    Franchisee training is two weeks long. If all of these two weeks were completely
    devoted to understanding brain science, understanding cognitive skills, and
    interpeting assessment results, you would still be unqualified to advise parents
    on these matters.

    No time will be spent in franchise training on brain science, whether anatomical
    or functional.

    Very little time will be spent understanding what science can tell us about
    cognitive skills such as memory, working memory, long-term memory, attention
    skills, processing speed, auditory processing, visual processing, and logic.

    Very little time will be spent understanding how to interpret assessment
    results which involves linking assessment results to the real-life struggles of

    At the end of this training, this will be the assessment of your skills.

    * Are you an expert in brain science?

    * Are you an expert in cogntive skill assessment (Woodcock-Johnson)?

    * Are you an expert at linking linking cognitive skills to brain function?

    * Are you an expert at linking cognitive skills to real-life struggles?

    The sad answer to these questions is that you are an not an expert in any of
    these. You aren’t even competent in any of them. [Dr. Jodi Jedlicka —
    franchisee in Wisconsin — might be able to say she has some of these

    With few exceptions, franchisees are pretenders. They are told to speak with
    confidence in areas where they lack even basic training, knowledge, and skills.
    They are told to be the ‘brain expert in their community.’

  • Former Franchisees


    As a parent, you expect a qualified professional to advise you regarding your child’s cognitive abilities.

    As a franchisee, you present yourself as an expert with the qualifications to advise parents when you lack these credentials.

  • Former Franchisees

    ## Every Struggling Child Needs Brain Training

    The good news is that you don’t really need to interpret assessment results in
    order to recommend brain training programs to prospective clients. It is ironic
    but true.

    Sarah’s mom came to LearningRx to find out if Sarah can be helped through brain
    training. Without knowing anything else about Sarah or her mom (or dad), let me
    answer this question for her: yes.

    * Everyone can be helped through brain training.

    * Everyone can be smarter through brain training.

    * Everyone will benefit from LearningRx brain training.

    * Everyone can afford brain training if they truly understand its value.

    Ken Gibson (the founder of LearningRx) taught you how to recommend programs
    during Franchisee Training. It wasn’t a long session — it didn’t need to be.
    The process is really quite simple:

    * If the parent is concerned about reading, recommend ReadRx.

    * If the parent is concerned about math skills, recommend MathRx.

    * If both of these is a concern, recommend both ReadRx and MathRx.

    * If neither of these is a concern, recommend ThinkRx.

    Where can you learn the parent’s concerns? The intake form and by talking to
    them in the consultation (to be discussed in a later section).

    In Franchisee Training, every single example client result discussed resulted in
    a recommendation. Then Ken leaned back and proudly mentioned a period of his
    life while in Florida where he was able to sign up 90% of prospective clients.

    This process really is as simple as it sounds:

    * Sarah’s mom completed the intake form while Sarah was being assessed. In
    this she said that Sarah struggles were related to attention and memory.
    Thus, she needs at least 12 weeks of the ThinkRx program.

    * Amit’s dad completed the intake form while Amit was being assessed. Amit’s
    struggles are with reading. Thus, Amit needs at least 24 weeks of the ReadRx

    * Johan’s mom completed the intake form pointing to struggles with reading,
    memory, and math. Johan needs at least 36 weeks of the MathRx and ReadRx

    Are there any exceptions at all? Yes! The exceptions are those who are unable to
    receive brain training:

    * the blind, becuase the program requires working with visual materials.

    * the deaf, because the program requires being able to hear a trainer.

    * the mute, because the program requires speaking.

    * the very young (under 5);

    * the very old

    Your mantra will be: “Everyone benefits from brain training.”

  • Former Franchisees


    As a parent, you want to know if LearningRx brain training will address the underlying reasons for your child’s struggles.

    As a franchisee, you believe that everyone — no matter the struggle — no matter the skill level — needs your service. Thus, you will almost always recommend a program.

  • Former Franchisees

    ## Linking Assessment Results to Children’s Struggles

    In the last section, we gave you the good news:

    The good news is that you don’t really need to interpret assessment results
    in order to recommend brain training programs to prospective clients.

    However, you are not quite off the hook as a franchisee.

    The bad news is that you do need to give plausible linkages between
    assessment results and children’s struggles to sign up clients.
    And you must do this with confidence.

    Thus, LearningRx teaches you a simplistic understanding of the linkages between assessment results and real-life struggles. This is necessary so that a brain training franchisee can be a former hair dresser advising people about remediating cognitive deficiencies.

    Your task as a franchisee will be to link the child’s struggles to a cognitive deficiency that can be cured through brain training in the free consultation. Let’s consider specific examples to understand how shallow this recommendation process is.

    ### Child Struggles with Reading

    What you (the franchise) should look for on the assessment results:

    * Low Word Attack score
    * Low Auditory Processing score

    However, even if the assessment scores are both above the 50th percentile, if the parent says reading is a struggle, you will recommend ReadRx. This means that even if the child is over 50th percentile in these scores, the franchisee will figure out some other sensible-sounding reason that underlying cognitive skills are causing the struggles with attention skills.

    Program: ReadRx
    Duration: 24+ weeks
    Cost: $10,000 +

    ### Child’s Reading is Slow.

    What you should look for on the assessment results:

    * Low Word Attack score
    * Low Auditory Processing score
    * Low Processing Speed

    However, even if the assessment scores are both above the 50th percentile, if the parent says reading is a struggle, you will recommend ReadRx.

    Program: ReadRx
    Duration: 24+ weeks
    Cost: $10,000 +

    ### Child Struggles with Attention Skills.

    What you should look for on the assessment results:

    * Low Working Memory score
    * Low Executive Processing Speed score
    * Low Processing Speed score

    However, even if the assessment scores are both above the 50th percentile, if the parent says attention skills are a struggle, you will recommend a LearningRx training program. A common — and catch-all reason — could be a low Logic & Reasoning score. The linkage in this case is supposedly that the child is not good at making good, reasoned choices and is choosing not to pay attention.

    Program: ThinkRx
    Length: 12+ weeks (sold in increments of 4 weeks)
    Cost: $5,000+

    ### Child Struggles to Remember Things

    What you should look for on the assessment results:

    * Low Short-term Memory score
    * Low Long-term Memory score

    However, even if the assessment scores are both above the 50th percentile, if the parent says attention skills are a struggle, you will recommend a LearningRx training program. A common — and catch-all reason — could be a low Logic & Reasoning score. The linkage in this case is supposedly that the child is not good at making good, reasoned choices and is choosing not to pay attention. (See subsequent section on how the Logic & Reasoning assessment score is abused by franchisees.)

    Program: ThinkRx
    Length: 12+ weeks (sold in increments of 4 weeks)
    Cost: $5,000+

  • Former Franchisees


    As a parent, you go to LearningRx to find out from an assessment whether the
    underlying causes of your child’s stuggles is a cognitive deficiency.

    As a franchisee, you ensure that you can give a sensible-sounding link
    between the child’s struggles and the assessment scores in almost all cases.
    This is sometimes very difficult (because the scores are too good), but you will
    usually have a couple days to figure out something that sounds plausible.

  • Former Franchisees

    ## Interjection: The Abuse of the Logic & Reasoning Assessment Score

    By the way, Logic & Reasoning is often used to explain the ‘underlying causes’ for breaking the law, doing drugs, not working hard in school, not paying attention in school, and many other things.

    The Logic & Reasoning assessment has nothing whatsoever to say about ethical life decisions like this. To ever say this is to misunderstand the specific nature of the Woodcock-Johnson III assessment test for Logic & Reasoning. It is one very specific way to test Logic & Reasoning of many to choose from, but certainly is not a test of whether a child will make good and/or ethical decisions in everyday life.

    Let me state this another way.

    * Some very immoral people could do very well on the Woodcock-Johnson III
    Logic & Reasoning assessment.

    * Some very moral people could do very poorly on the Woodcock-Johnson III
    Logic & Reasoning assessment.

    The assessment does not measure morality. And, worse, an immoral person with an improved logic and reasoning score may do more harm in the world rather than less.

  • Former Franchisees

    ## Strong Emotions Result in Sales in the Consultation

    You might imagine that as a franchisee, you will walk into the consultation with
    Sarah’s parents, recommend a program, provide your thinking about why this is
    your recommendation, share the costs of the program, then let dad and mom make
    the decision.

    Nothing could be further from the truth!

    Because this won’t result in a sale!

    At Franchisee Training, you received a full day of training on how to lead a
    successful consultation. The home office defines a successful consultation as
    one that results in a new client. This is very important to the business health
    of every LearningRx center because this is when a prospective client becomes an
    actual client.

    The consultation starts with information gathering and discussion. The
    franchisee asks questions, listens, takes notes, and expresses empathy. You
    might wonder why this would be the case when you as a franchisee already have
    the intake form and assessment results. The reason is that parents express
    emotions when they share these things about their children. It is one thing to
    write on a form that Sarah struggles to pay attention, but to tell this to
    someone else often results in mom feeling anguish, desperation, or sadness. You
    want Sarah’s mom to feel free to express the pain with tears and for dad to see
    and experience those tears.

    It is also quite effective to ask Sarah’s mom about her hopes and dreams for
    Sarah. Again, by asking this question, you are allowing Sarah’s parents to see
    the gap between what their darling Sarah is today and what they want her to
    become. As a franchisee, you want to hear the following from mom:

    “I’m not sure she’ll pass fourth grade because she can’t pay attention in
    class… never mind graduate from college.” (tears)

    We heard the expression within LearningRx multiple times that “a mom who cries
    is a mom who buys.” In fact, this is true; it is more likely that parents will
    sign up if there is strong expressed emotion in the consultation process.

    To illustrate this point and to drive home the point that this is taught by the
    home office, one of us had a home office representative come to our center soon
    after opening our doors.

    The representative did a consultation with me present and observing. During
    the process, a probing question was asked in the right way and mom started to
    cry. After the consultation, it was pointed out that I was more likely to get
    a sale if I could learn to ask probing questions that lead mom to cry.

    As Mom is wiping away her tears is a good time to make your professional
    recommendation. Present the program and pricing with confidence.

  • Former Franchisees


    As a parent, you want to trust that the franchisee has your best interests at heart and will treat you with the highest integrity. You trust that you will not be manipulated.

    As a franchisee, you know that strong emotions are more likely to result in a sale. You must develop the skills to manipulate people to be successful in this business without calling it manipulation. Let me repeat: Never call it manipulation. Give it another kinder name.

  • Former Franchisees

    *** INTERJECTION ***

    Obviously, the previous was INHERENT CONFLICT #7.

  • Former Franchisees

    ## Interjection: Why Inherent?

    Why are these conflicts labeled ‘inherent’? Because we believe they are deeply embedded into the LearningRx business model and would be difficult or impossible for an individual franchisee to change.

    For example, you may think that you could be a franchisee without focusing on sales. We suggest that if that is your earnest desire that you instead start a nonprofit or start a ministry through your church. The business context changes the very nature of what it means ‘to have a desire to help children.’

    Selling is at the core of any business, but especially a high-end services business like LearningRx where a program costs between $5,000 and $15,000. In other words, this is high-end, high-consequence sales in a high-end services business.

    The best franchisees have strong sales skills without ever calling it sales. If you don’t (or you don’t hire those who do) you will soon be out of business.

    The best franchisees have strong skills at bringing out emotion in the consultation without ever calling it manipulation. If you don’t, you won’t get many sales because facts don’t close sales, emotions do.

    This is a business. This will be much clearer to you when you are in the middle of it than now. Your sales funnel will be closely monitored by the home office. What does this look like? They will track these about your business:

    * The raw number of potential customers who contact your center.
    * The percentage of calls that result in assessments.
    * The percentage of assessments that result in consultations.
    * The percentage of consultations that result in sales.
    * The percentage of sales that complete the entire program.

    In addition, they will keep close track of these:

    * The total revenue of your center.
    * The direct and indirect expenses of your center.
    * The average amount each customer spends on services.
    * The amount you spend on advertising and marketing.
    * The average return you will have on each kind of advertising.

    The home office will send out an email every month with the top ten centers with the most revenues.

    What if you don’t hone these skills? Many LearningRx franchisees have gone out of business. Surprisingly, even some of the top franchisees have closed their doors because business fell off a cliff after a few years of great revenues.

    LearningRx is not a ministry; it is not a nonprofit business; it is a for-profit business in which you must sell (a lot) to stay in business.

  • Former Franchisees

    ## Supplemental Testing and the LearningRx Guarantee

    The LearningRx slogan is “Train the brain. Get better. Guaranteed.” What does it mean that it is guaranteed? The LearningRx guarantee is this:

    * If the client completes a 12 week program, it is guaranteed that one skill will
    increase 2 years.

    * If the client completes a 24 week program, it is guaranteed that one skill will
    increase 3 years.

    At initial assessment, the child was assessed for seven (or so) core cognitive skills, plus Word Attack. (Word Attack is not a cognitive skill).

    In the supplemental testing, this number of tests may double and the additional tests are not cognitive tests.

    Since the guarantee is relative to all assessment results (both initial and supplemental, both cognitive and achievement), the supplemental testing gives the franchisee more of a chance to meet the guarantee.

    Please stop and think about this.

    * During the consultation, you sold Sarah’s parents on the idea that their child is
    struggling because she lacks one or more underlying cognitive ability, probably
    Working Memory, Processing Speed, and Long-Term Memory.

    * During the consultation, you told Sarah’s parents that her trainer would focus on
    Sarah’s specific needs to bring an end to her struggles.

    * You told Sarah’s parents through your advertising and your own words that the
    program is guaranteed.

    * Then you added supplemental non-cognitive tests into the mix and said that a
    gain in any test counts toward meeting the program guarantee.

    The common term for this kind of sales tactic is “bait and switch”. But all LearningRx franchisees can think of it as business as usual beacuse this is the way it has always been done.

    Sarah’s parents should not consider it a success if some unrelated skill went up (even a huge amount) if Sarah still has weaknesses in the underlying skills that supposedly caused her poor attention and memory skills.

  • Former Franchisees


    As a parent, you were convinced you that weak cognitive skills were causing your child’s poor performance in school and in life. You were told that a certified trainer would focus on these specific weak skills and help your child improve dramatically. You were told that the results were guaranteed.

    As a franchisee, you pulled a bait and switch. You sold the parent that specific weak cognitive skills are the root cause of the child’s struggles. You told the parent you would focus on and improve those weak underlying skills. But your guarantee is that ‘some’ possibly unrelated test score, possible not even a cognitive skill, will improve. Bait and switch by any other name is still a dishonest business practice!

  • Former Franchisees

    ## INTERJECTION: Why do parents sign the contract with this weak guarantee?

    It is important to understand that parents sign a contract that says that the guarantee is met if any test score increases, whether cognitive skill or not and whether one of the weak underlying skills or not. Why do parents sign this contract when the verbiage is in direct conflict with what they have been told during the consultation?

    * They do not read or understand the contract.

    * They have been told so many times that the trainer will focus on the weak
    underlying skills so they trust that no matter what the contract says,
    this will be true. They trust the franchisee.

    * They have already emotionally committed to the program,
    so they do not bring up objections.

    In fact, one of the Former Franchisees cannot ever remember a single contract signing where a parent raised an objection about the wording of the guarantee.

  • Former Franchisees

    ## INTERJECTION: The MechanicRx Analogy

    I liken the LearningRx guarantee to going to your auto mechanic (aptly named
    MechanicRx) to get a fix to an underlying engine problem. MechanicRx’ slogan is Fix your Car. Runs better. Guaranteed.

    When you call to tell the mechanic that the engine is not running any better than it was before, he points to the contract and said the guarantee was that something about your car would improve dramatically.

    Then he asks, “Didn’t you notice the spotless windshield?”

    Then it hits you: “Yes, but $1400 for a clean windshield???”

    Yet this is the norm within the LearningRx system. The guarantee is a deception.

  • I was in a LearningRx center in an administrative position. I had experience with other tutoring companies as well as full-time teaching experience. I can believe everything stated in the article. While the concept of neuroplasticity seemed plausible, I did not understand the astronomical cost for brain games any person could easily play at home. There was so much internal deception that the employees were in an unspoken war with the directors. I was not pleased while employed with LearningRx.

  • Relieved mom

    Can’t begin to thank you, Former.
    I took my 10 year old daughter to our Charlottesville,VA center for 3 free sessions with a trainer in training. I was given the pre assessment questionnaire and the owner/director told me he’d give me 1/2 off the regular assessment price since my daughter was volunteering.

    Actually, I don’t think she even has any issues. I took her there because I thought she might enjoy it. Sure, her mind wanders and she is sometimes scattered but she’s 10!
    I had no idea of the cost!! My word!! He could have me bring in my husband, parents , grandparents and my entire extended family! No way would we pay that.
    I really did want this for my girl though (before reading this). I wanted her to have every opportunity to be a better student and thinker. He made it sound like she’d experience such gains!! I wanted that for her.
    Right before I googled reviews of LRX, I was praying for a way to get this training for her. I knew it was probably expensive and right now the money tree isn’t bearing fruit. So I was praying for a way.
    Then I find this. I’ve read the entire thread. And my prayers have been answered.
    I will use Lumosity. I will read the books you mentioned and use the exercises you stated. I’ll make up my own. We’ll do it together as a family. Brain training on a shoestring!
    Thank you for your kindness and willingness to share this information. You have helped more than you know. Blessing to you.

  • Relieved mom

    Forgot to mention. I should have been tipped off by the very prominent framed diploma on the wall of the director’s office.
    I thought for sure it would have been a degree in neuroscience or psychology.
    It was an MBA.

  • Former Franchisee

    Thanks for the latest comments. I read them many months ago.

    Yes, I do check in on this every month or so to see if there are any questions or new comments. If you are new to this thread, go back to the beginning and read. There is a lot of deception and manipulation in the LearningRx system (Learning Rx Learning RX).

    I still ask that someone call a LearningRx center and see if what I say above is true and report back to this post. Confirm these main points:

    1. The person answering the phone will not answer basic questions such as how much the program costs. If they give a range the range will include a low price which will not be really real such as $1500. The $1500 dollars will be for a product on the computer which is competing with Lumosity. Do they say this? Do they tell you that they are going to try to make sure the average sale is $5000 or more? (Ask them!)

    2. The person answering the phone will present themselves and the director as an expert in the brain and brain science. This is absolutely untrue in almost all cases. Franchisees are business people, not brain scientists or even cognitive psychologists. There is no professional training to back this up at all. Ask for the credentials of the center you call and report back here. (The person just above this said the person had an MBA — that is a business degree, not a brain science degree.)

    3. Ask the person answering the phone if conversions are tracked from phone calls to assessment, from assessment to consultation and from consultation to customer. I am really interested in what they will say. But I know from experience that these are all tracked. The centers want a conversion of 90% or above from phone call to assessment, 100% from assessment to consulation, and 50% or above from consultation to customer. The center director where I was a franchisee bragged about an above 50% conversion rate into customers. Another center director from another center would brag about a 90% conversion rate — which I later was told by the home office was not true.

    4. I had a friend (another former franchisee) show me a picture from this year of franchisees. The franchisees were all new faces. Incredible turn over in franchisees since I was in the system. We were both amazed! If you are considering being a franchisee, plan to lose a lot of money — even if you make some along the way.

    5. If you go to a consultation, I want on-going confirmation that what I said above still holds true. You have told the director all about you, your desires, and your child. Do they give you any really new information? Do they admit to the limitations of the initial assessment? Do they tell you in the initial assessment that they often dismiss some of the testing results in the final assessment? Do they admit to some students getting very poor results? Do they tell you that assessments should not really be done more often than once per year (for Woodcock Johnson)? Do they try to make you emotional and then play on your emotion to get a sale? Do they make it clear that the guarantee is almost always meaningless?

    I am always interested. I am always checking in if anyone has questions or comments. Please keep the discussion going. I would especially like to hear from potential franchisees.

  • Regina Philange

    Attended an ADHD conference this weekend and LearningRx had a vendor booth. I can confirm they continue to make unverified/exaggerated claims about improving cognitive skills and executive function (working memory, etc.).

    To be clear — working memory is not something that can be rehab-ed in someone with ADHD, especially through games/training such as repetition exercises. There was no hard sell at the time (which isn’t surprising given the sales funnel model) but I did provide my contact info and I’m sure that’s when I’ll really see the wheels in motion.

    I’m glad I did my research to see what’s behind the curtain with the company but I’m also incredibly disappointed in the conference organizers that basically fed their ADHD attendees to the lions in the interest of making money, which apparently is a clear common denominator for both parties.

  • Former Franchisee

    Thanks, Regina. I am interested to see what you find out if you go through the sales model.

    By the by, as a former franchisee, the clients I perceived left with the least change were those with hyperactive tendencies. I never saw the link between brain training and correcting hyperactivity.

    An example was a boy I personally trained who came in with very low memory skills and was extremely hyperactive. I love that boy. I never felt like his memory or hyperactivity got better even though I worked with him for over a year. His final testing showed an unimproved memory. Worse, the center director pushed for retesting with the exact same test within a week to clear the bad results.

    Years later, his dad and I talked and said the only lasting change was that I taught him to read better. Ironically, I attribute some of his improvement in reading to the LearningRx ReadRx training program. The ReadRx program had 24 units. 23 of them focused on sound to code (/a/ is written as ‘a’). One of the units (18, if I recall) focuses on code-to-sound (when you see an ‘a’ in a word it could represent the /a/ sound). That one code-to-sound unit is supposed to be completed in roughly a week! The reason I helped this boy was because I deviated from the program and did much more code-to-sound work with him — though quite ad hoc. That year of training was worth $20,000 in my center, though we gave the parents a steep discount, because I was learning by working with them.

    Everything I did to help could have been had from a trained reading instructor (not a reading teacher) at about $25/hour — a quarter the price. Ironically, even by the end of my time at LearningRx I was not even a competent reading instructor. And, worse, my brain trainers were at an even lower level — maybe advanced beginners if they stayed a year. I only had an hour per week to teach them what I was learning in my side reading. NONE of the teaching of my trainers was required by the home office. I learned and I taught because I thought we needed to earn the right to be called a reading program.

    The LearningRx home office is extremely and pervasively arrogant. A franchisee could be fined or removed for deviating. But since the focus is all on testing and the testing does not effectively measure reading (only Word Attack and Auditory Processing), they get away with this in the eyes of the consumer. Ultimately, I removed myself as a franchisee — at a financial loss — because I could not stand behind the product or the system. I felt like I was in the midst of lies — pervasive lies — and deceit — pervasive deceit — to the point that I had to step aside to clear my mind and recenter on truth. Clarity really only came by writing these posts. Thinking through it all after the fact. Continuing to learn. And confessing my own sins committed in my time with the company as I became aware of them.

    [An aside: I learned recently that Kim Hanson is now the CEO of the company. Kim is the daughter Ken Gibson, the founder. Of all the home office staff, I liked Dean and Kim most. However, the difference between confidence and arrogance is whether you defend that which is clearly wrong (she does) and make claims that cannot be supported by evidence (she does). God bless her, but she also needs to repent before she appears at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is just that Tanya Mitchell needs to repent more.]

  • Former Franchisee


    I have been giving a lot of thought to the LearningRx reading program. I suggest that the program is explicitly deficient in a particular area. They say their program is a sound-to-code program. This means you learn a sound such as /ae/ and the that it can be written as in cake, train, baby, jay, prey, sleight, or reindeer. This is not teaching a child (or adult) how to read! This is teaching them something they need to know to spell.

    What a reader needs is to know that the letter ‘a’ could represent different sounds when you READ. Such as cat, cart, bay, about, said, plaid, raid, and so forth. The program only spends one week on this skill (Unit 18).

    It comes back to the saying that if someone only has a hammer, the whole world looks like nails.

    The LearningRx hammer is training. They want to turn the entire world into exercises that are done on beat with a metronome.

    Another LearningRx hammer is sound-to-code. They want reading to conform to this tool and to always be the nail. They want you to think sound-to-code is the magic bullet. But, if this was a magic bullet, don’t you think every body (and I mean everybody) would have figured this out by now and use it. The problem is that this is not a magic bullet. It is even correct up to a certain point, but they take it too far. When something is taken too far, it becomes untrue. LearningRx has taken sound-to-code too far.

    Ask if you have questions. I now have it set up so that anything you say will come to me in email and I will respond.

    LearningRx is doing even more to try to push this thread down in the rankings. You can see all the things that Google now thinks are more important for you to read than this thread, yet this thread gives you more information about LearningRx than any other site. Click and double click this link so Google knows you value it so that others can find it too. (Shame on Kim Hanson. And I thought you were a Christian.)

  • Former Franchisee

    LearningRx in its ReadRx book teaches its trainers that there are 43 sounds in the English language. This is not true. To see that this is blatantly false, Google the following:

    Carnegie Melon University English Phonemes

    Ignorance or lie, you must decide!

    Either way, $7,000 to $10,000 for a 24-week program is too much to pay anyway.

  • Former Franchisee

    LearningRx now claims to refute the idea that they teach to the test, by saying they use many reading tests. The problem with this line of reasoning is that the parent is ‘guaranteed’ improvement against a specific set of tests. In my time that was Woodcock Johnson III. I can assure you that the trainers did know the Woodcock Johnson III test (because some of them administered the test) and they knew the tidbits that the student needed to know to do better on the test. This is not just true for reading, but for all of their cognitive assessments, but since they focus on reading let me be specific to reading.

    Trainers knew that the child needed to know the ‘kn-‘ code (as in the word ‘knit’) in order to answer one of the questions on the Woodcock-Johnson III assessment. They also knew that the student would have to reverse words like ‘enough’ on that assessment. In the course of watching training, I noticed that the trainers would specifically use these examples in training. Their bonus was dependent on getting good test results, so they were doing a logical thing.

    In some centers, trainers assessed their own students at the end. Then got bonused on the results. Did you know that the bias of an assessor has been shown to change the results in assessments. I did many assessments myself. I know that inside me was a desire for children to do poorly on initial assessments because it was easier to show parents the problem if the assessment showed the problem. I know that inside me was a desire for the children to excellently on final assessments, because it was easier to show that we made a difference when final results were excellent. I always had to fight these inner urges to bias the test. And one time a student said that I seemed happier doing his final assessment than when I did his initial assessment. Ouch! I didn’t even think of that one.

    I still think that as long as both the assessing and the training are under the purview of LearningRx (Learning RX), there will always be questions about the validity of individual test results. Completely independent testing in EVERY case for EVERY test for EVERY child is essential to integrity here. And, complete isolation between all center staff and knowing what is specifically asked or done in the assessment is also essential.

  • FormerFranchisee

    Please continue to interact with this website about LearningRx (Learning RX, LRX). Ask questions, leave comments. Has this information helped you to make a decision about franchising or about using their services? Please let me know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *