2007-10-19 / Letters

Good Test Scores Do Not Mean A Good Education

Those who ae not involved with the education community still believe that high test scores equate to a good education and that the mayor has done wonders by pushing up incrementaly the scores on standardized tests.

The falacy in such thinking can be seen by the growing industry of those who train students to take tests such as the SAT and GRE exams. Those companies boast that they can raise scores by twenty percent or more over previous test-taking sessions, and they probably can. Does that mean, however, that the students who increase their test scores are twenty percent smarter? Of course not. All the increased score means is that the student knows how to take that particular test -- what to look for, how to delete answer options that are obviously the wrong answers.

So it is with the ELA and standardized math tests. When the schools provide five or more periods a week to teaching their students to take the tests, they are teaching a skill that may or may not be tranferable even to other tests in the same series. It does not mean that they are learning anything but how to take that particular test.

Is that what we want for our children's educational experience? I, for one, do not.

I want my son to learn about democracy, about how our government works. I want him to become a knowledgeable voter, able to make viable choices about who he wants to vote for and why. I want him to know how our government functions and how the three branches of government balance each other.

He will not learn that in Social Studies. He has that subject only three times each week rather than the mandated five or six periods a week. He will, however, know how to take a test. How sad.


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