Letter: Testing before material is taught

A student takes a sample SAT test during

A student takes a sample SAT test during prep class in Newton, Mass. (March 3, 2005) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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I am a public high school teacher ["When teaching to the test is good," Editorial, Aril 18]. My students are expected to master weekly quizzes, quarterly unit tests and ultimately a New York State-generated Regents examination. Additionally, I rely on laboratory write-ups, case study assignments, homework, and a variety of reading and writing assignments. I'm a big fan of assessments. I use them daily.

However, my students are never assessed on material they haven't yet learned. I never create assessments that they simply cannot master. If my assessments are capricious and arbitrary, my students simply won't trust me. I worry that's the result we'll get from this month's state tests. I rely on trust to lead students to successful outcomes.

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Invalid tests serve no purpose and in fact can do damage. Valid tests move students along in a positive way. Let's get it right.

Beth Shapiro, Oakdale


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