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[Susan notes: 3 cheers for the debunking of international comparisons.]

Published in Christian Science Monitor

To the editor

International comparisons of test scores are meaningless as a measure of educational quality, despite what Mr. Evers and Mr. Walberg assert. Countries abroad use a system of differentiation in educating the young that is the antithesis of America's system of democratization. The sorting-out process elsewhere begins early in primary school and continues throughout the educational process. As a result, students who take the tests constitute the elite of the school population. In contrast, the tests administered to the same grade here are given to students with the widest possible backgrounds. Any inferences from the data under these conditions will not stand up to scrutiny.

The public is entitled to know if students are being well-educated with tax dollars. But all tests are not equal, and all students taking the tests are not comparable.

Walt Gardner

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