Letters to the editor

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Educate yourself about

standardized testing

To the Editor:

Your editorial "Our View: CSAP test provides important assessment" dated Wednesday, March 25, has me wondering about how many people are educated about standardized tests and their actual effectiveness.

While standardized tests are a means of producing formal assessments of how students are progressing in their education, these tests are often misunderstood and misused. Sadly, many of these interpretations come from the national level, such as with President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" campaign.

Standardized tests do have their benefit. They are useful in determining the curriculum schools need to teach, they identify where individual students need to improve, and even help to determine whether special needs classes are required.

What increasingly has become a problem, however, is that too often these tests are used to determine the amount of funding provided to a school or district. Often inadvertently, school administrations put pressure on teachers and parents to get better test scores from the students, leaving behind the real benefits of making the students take these exams. As a result, teachers instruct more in how to take tests rather than actual content. Also, organizations outside the school system (and with good intentions) do whatever they can to bolster the idea of getting higher test scores.

With these pressures on students, standardized tests become nearly worthless. On test day, students most likely are going to be nervous because they are going to be trying to "get high scores" rather than find out how they're doing in each subject area.

Skewed test results are ensured.

An even bigger tragedy is that English as a Second Language students, students with disabilities, or students who recently have moved into an area are forced to take these tests, skewing results even more for schools, which may cause those same schools to lose funding under national policies.

We need to educate ourselves and the government about the real purpose for these standardized tests and teach to the needs of students rather than to the scores of tests.

Sincerely,

Lief A. Albaugh

Craig

Much thanks from the

family of Frank Crow

To the Editor:

The family of Frank Crow would like to express a sincere thank you for your prayers, thoughts, cards, flowers, food, support and donations.

Frank will be missed by his family and friends.

God bless you.

The Crows,

Delores and family

Craig

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