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[Susan notes: We need to repeat this mantra: Testing is not teaching. Say it loud and say it often: Testing is not teaching.



Not only is testing not teaching, the way Standardistos set things up, we can't even learn from the testing.]

Published in Chico Enterprise-Record
11/12/2005

To the editor


The present policy of "Leave no child untested" seriously interferes with our children's education. Testing is not teaching, nor is drilling for higher test scores. The time wasted in test coaching, testing and test scoring is all time stolen from real teaching and learning.



Useful testing is done when teachers can use the results to find out (1) what students have learned (2) what skills or materials need to be retaught (3) which students need more help (4) which students need to go ahead to learn new skills or materials. Present state/national test programs provide none of this information for teachers.



Present test programs are foolishly used to rate schools. Two factors which make this foolish are (1) test results parallel parental income (percentage of students eligible for free and reduced price lunches are a useful indicator) (2) mandated testing programs only measure about 20 percent of what we want schools to teach our students.



The tests do not measure such things as (1) problem-solving ability (2) working with others (3) study skills (4) attitudes toward learning (5) developing ways to find information (6) appreciation of the many forms of art (7) respect for others (8) respect for our country, its traditions and institutions (9) developing new interests and ambitions (10) caring about students.



My background for the above is a total of 51 years in education as a teacher, principal, professor and school board member.



James F. Lindsey


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