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Opinions Split on Tests for Second-Graders

August 25, 2003

Re "Bid to End State Testing of 2nd-Graders Spurs Backlash," Aug. 21: Oh, puleeeze. Assemblywoman Loni Hancock's (D-Berkeley) comment that testing should be abandoned because it lowers the self-esteem of students is too retro to be believed. This is the sort of thinking that led to years of dumbed-down curricula.

In my years of teaching, I've found that self-esteem is closely linked to knowledge and skills: the higher the latter, the higher the former. I'm certainly not in favor of the two-ton elephant that standardized testing has become, but don't tell me we should stop finding out what children know because their feelings would be hurt if they aren't up to speed.

Vickie Burns-Sikora

West Hollywood

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I am so relieved to know that Supt. Roy Romer believes "we gain from the testing of second-graders. We are looking at tests to know whether instruction is occurring and how to improve it." It's clear that Romer believes that testing students in second grade is necessary to verify that teachers are doing their jobs. His statement is insulting to all teachers who achieve success in spite of the variables we face that are beyond our control.

I would offer a less expensive, less damaging and more reliable test, one that's been used effectively for over 100 years. At the evening meal, parents look their second-grader in the eye and demand an answer to a simple question: What did you learn in school today?

Denise Rockwell-Woods

Venice

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