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Pointed Questions on Testing

September 07, 2002

Re "Test Scores Rise; Goals Still Unmet," Aug. 30: Most college-educated parents are speaking and reading to their tiny tots in English every day from birth until kindergarten. Spanish-speaking children are at a tremendous disadvantage when they enter school. Why not provide and encourage free adult classes in English for parents of infants and toddlers with a campaign that explains the importance of building the preschool English vocabulary and grammar foundation?

At these classes, introduce children's literature and give free children's books in English to immigrant parents. Educate employers about the importance of the program and give a certificate that the parent can present to the employer at the completion of the course.

Lynne Shapiro

Marina del Rey

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Since Gov. Gray Davis seems to think that test scores determine if a child has achieved lifetime learning, and since he takes credit when scores are high, and since this is an election year, I would like to offer the following suggestion: Assure that principals can be accountable by letting them give each student the advantages enjoyed by high-scoring students.

First, give each student a home computer with Internet access; next, purchase each child a musical instrument and arrange for weekly lessons, since statistics show that people who study music have higher test scores. Third, have each child attend math tutoring at least once a week. Since parents are often home from work late, provide each family with a college-educated, English-speaking nanny who can greet the children after school with a healthy snack, drive them to music and tutoring, assist with homework and music practice, provide school/college counseling to teens and serve an early, nutritious dinner.

I guarantee that these measures will quickly raise test scores much faster than daily test-taking drills, militaristic teacher-proof curricula and threats of loss of jobs or bonuses. Finally, I would like to have Davis, along with other successful businesspeople and politicians, take the high school Stanford 9 exam and allow The Times to publish their scores.

Judith M. Seki

San Gabriel

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The only thing standardized tests prove is that rich kids score higher than middle-class kids and that middle-class kids score higher than poor kids. So pardon my ignorance if I ask, "What's the point?"

Lou Cohan

Cypress

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