Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

[Susan notes: Spitting in the wind here, but if you don't write letters, then your silence is guaranteed.]

Submitted to New York Times but not published

To the editor

Re: New York State Test Questions Tricky for 3rd Graders, and Maybe Some Adults, August 11.

Readability formulas help test publishers deliver ostensibly age appropriate passages, but coming up with suitable questions is a whole lot trickier. For Grade 3 tests, prolonged close content with actual eight-year-olds is as essential as it is rare.

I'd guess that as test makers are pressured to deliver on that abstruse hot potato Critical Thinking, questions will get goofier and goofier.

I'm not reassured by the New York State Education Department claim that "every test question is evaluated by independent reviewers." I'd like to know how many longtime third grade teachers were asked to review these questions.

Susan Ohanian, third grade teacher

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.