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[Susan notes: This letter is short and sweet--and has a powerful metaphor to bring home the point.]

Submitted to Los Angeles Times but not published

To the editor

The Times reported that English learners in California have improved on a test of English ("Students learning English post major advances," March 19). The same test has now been given for three years in a row, which means that teachers and students are familiar with the format. The items on the test are very closely aligned to the State Standards; teachers have a good idea of what will be on the test. Is the improvement real or just the result of test preparation? Are we really raising the temperature of the room, or are we only lighting a match under the thermometer?

Stephen Krashen

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