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[Susan notes: This does what a good letter does: link a story getting national attention to local concerns.]

Published in Boston Globe

To the editor

SAT glitch raises alarm on testing

March 16, 2006 [Boston Globe]

YOUR ARTICLE ''Colleges scramble amid SAT glitch" (Page A1, March 9) points out the pitfalls of over-reliance on scores from standardized tests. This is not the first time that hundreds of students, through no fault of their own, have been hurt by errors made by testing companies.

Many quality institutions have stopped requiring SATs because they understand that these tests are a poor judge of who will succeed in college. Rather, most colleges understand the importance of looking at the ''whole child," and prefer to rely on a student's academic record, recommendations, and qualities such as initiative and creativity that cannot be measured by a standardized test.

Our national obsession with standardized tests, including MCAS, is narrowing education and discouraging critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are so essential to a 21st-century education. Moreover, errors such as those that occurred on the October 2005 SATs are likely to increase exponentially as a result of the increases in standardized testing required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

This SAT ''glitch" that harmed so many high school students is a cautionary tale reminding us to lower the stakes on standardized tests.

Ruth Kaplan

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