Letters: Standardized tests debated

A student takes a sample SAT test during

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

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A letter writer stated that teachers are forced to spend countless hours on test preparation and practice exams ["Parents to mobilize against testing?" April 2].

That mindset is the problem. Teachers and administrators are not forced to concentrate on test preparation and practice exams. All they have to do is the job they are hired to do: teach.

If test preparation and practice exams are the only way to get students to pass standardized tests, then teachers and administrators have failed. Standardized tests reveal the degree of competence of teachers and administrators.

Don't blame standardized testing. Demand that institutes of higher learning better prepare teachers and administrators to do their jobs.

When baby boomers were in school, there were often 30 or more students to a class. In districts where the emphasis was on teaching, most students, including most of the problem students, passed. These days, with fewer students in the classrooms, parents should demand that their children are educated, not just crammed with answers to tests.

Ed Poline, Baldwin
 

I agree with Newsday that what allegedly happened in Atlanta is despicable and damaging to every child within that school system ["Don't blame school testing," April 2]. There is no excuse for cheating.

However, the present emphasis on these standardized tests is creating an environment of fear that permeates teachers, students, parents and administrators.

Do we need accountability? Yes. But not in the way that our classrooms are now becoming centers for extreme test preparation. This environment is counterproductive to authentic learning.

Children need to be able to think, write, create, construct and enjoy working with their peers. We must all set high standards and allow teachers to truly engage our children in real learning.

Michael Wolk, South Huntington

Editor's note: The writer is a retired Long Island elementary school principal.

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