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[Susan notes: Nancy asks important questions that should be asked of every reporter.]

Submitted to Washington Post but not published
11/12/2003

To Jay Mathews



Dear Mr. Mathews:



You have made quite a leap from numbers to judgment concerning Massachusetts teachers and grading. Where is your scientifically-based research to support your thesis? Did you examine any student work samples, compare the work done to the grades received, compare actual scores on the MCAS to actual grades? Did you do any ethnographic research? Youíve cited numbers, but thatís not research, and that makes your conclusions invalid and unreliable. On the contrary, the high passing rates correlate better with the good grades received rather than not, based on the little bit of information youíve provided. Your article slandered a whole profession, with no research to support your statements. Shame on you.



I'm a parent, who has a high school student in California, who will most likely fail the California Exit Exam, not because of poor instruction, but because she is a poor test taker.



I'm a teacher, who agrees with statements in your article outlining the flaws in using a single test as a barometer of learning. You seem to prefer to bash, rather than to look for real solutions to the real issue, which is the problem of inappropriate testing.

Nancy Barth


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