CAP Tests

I wonder whether you and your readers are aware of the fact that, in the face of crippling budget cuts, the state's Department of Education is mandating the administration of the CAP (California Assessment Program) Tests for writing and reading statewide this year.

The program is ill-conceived and ill-advised for a number of reasons. For one thing, students are never given their individual scores; only a school's performance is published. Thus, unless the student is intensely devoted to the improvement of his school's performance, there is no incentive for the student to do well.

Secondly, the writing domains that were previously given to 12th-graders are now being required of 10th-graders, most of whom haven't arrived at the level of sophistication to deal with philosophical reflection or cause-and-effect analysis or literary interpretation.

I just wonder who's in charge up there. And finally, in a year when Los Angeles teachers have had to take a 10% pay cut and when school districts all over the state are tightening their budgetary belts, to spend millions of dollars to administer and grade such a test is unconscionable. I teach honors-level English classes, and in most years I find the state-mandated tests a useless intrusion. This year I find them an absurdity as well.

TED KOPACKI

Fullerton High School

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