Students Doing Better on Tests -- but Why?

Re "Student Test Scores Jump," Oct. 25: The results of recent statewide tests implies kudos to students, educators and politicians, yet the article warns that only 33% of 10th- and 32% of 11th-graders "were deemed proficient in English." Considering the vast investment of effort and funding in test preparation and administration, what has been accomplished? Are students who have shown improvement truly better able to compute, communicate and think critically, or are they merely prepped in strategies to better "guess" the most likely choice from among the four or five presented?

One might further ponder: Is this year's test comparable to what was measured last year, or have the current tests been deviously crafted to emphasize last year's strength while downplaying last year's weakness? Having visited many schools, and realizing that administrators generally place a higher value on public perception than on substantive improvement, reining in my skepticism is difficult.

Don Malvin

Substitute Teacher, LAUSD

Canoga Park

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