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Excellent LTE



Our good friend Alfie Kohn had a short-and-sweet letter-to-the-editor published
in the Sunday, August 8, 2010 New York Times:

QUESTIONS ABOUT TESTS

To the Editor:

Re: "New Standards Mean More F's in State Testing" (front page, July 29):

Why would we assume that when a standardized test is tweaked so that more people
appear to fail, those results are necessarily more accurate? Are harder tests
really better? Is a system more educationally desirable when fewer children are
defined as successful?

You quote someone from a conservative think tank who concludes that New York's
test is unreliable. But it's standardized testing itself that we should be
questioning. What we've learned is that passing rates (and difficulty of the
questions) can be raised or lowered at will to produce whatever results are
politically useful -- rather like shooting an arrow and then drawing a target
around it.

Alfie Kohn
Belmont, Mass.
The writer is the author of books and articles about education



Bob Schaeffer
Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
ph- (239) 395-6773 fax- (239) 395-6779
cell- (239) 699-0468
web- http://www.fairtest.org