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[Susan notes: Susan Harman sets USA straight on the nature of testing.]

Published in
11/21/2003

To the editor



NOTE: USA Today spelled the letter writer's name wrong and changed her point that the US came in second on international tests to "My school come in second." Go figure. Susan's important observations still come through.



Perhaps the solution to the riddle of why our children's test scores are higher in math than in reading lies in the nature of the tests they take.



If you believe math is just algorithms - such as a+b=c - then it's easy to test.



If you believe reading is getting meaning from print, then it's hard to test.



The kind of reading these tests demand is very different from real reading, and sophisticated readers know that and adjust accordingly.



But most young children are not sophisticated readers, and they're duped by the tests. And they score low.



That doesn't mean our children can't read. International tests prove they can: My school came in second on a recent one. Maybe there's

nothing wrong with our kids and our schools.



Instead, maybe there's something wrong with our tests.



Susan Harmon

Principal

Growing Children Charter School

Oakland

Susan Harman


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