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[Susan notes: The press has paid almost no attention to this misuse of standardized tests.]

Published in Christian Science Monitor

To the editor

I teach 8th-grade social studies in Washington State. I have no problem with testing - assessment is a valuable and necessary tool in the learning process. Some instruments assess students' mastery of a body of facts. Others are designed to assess their reasoning abilities. Still others measure performance of learned skills, such as playing an instrument or creating a video.

I do, however, have a problem with tests being used for purposes for which they were not designed. I know of no test that is designed specifically to rank one school against another.

Public schools are a mere reflection of society. Go ahead, hold the mirror up to us; test us. But understand that the results of that test reflect all of society. Until there are some changes outside the school walls, the reflection will be difficult to change.

Richard Reuther

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