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Standardized tests

Janet Mertz Mertz at oncology.wisc.edu
Fri Jul 7 19:26:38 EST 2000

Susan said: " I hve PhD students come by asking me to regrade problem sets
>>just on the chance they might get a better grade. "

I tell 1st year graduate students point blank that from now on grades are
irrelevant (as long as they maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, a graduate school
requirement). When they look for their next position, people will want to
know what they have accomplished and what they know, not what grade they
obtained in a course taken years earlier.
Laura Cox asked, "How do you maintain children's natural curiosity in a
system designed for teaching to the test where only one correct answer for
a question is
>acceptable? "

I sent my kids to an alternative elementary school that refuses to have
anything to do with standardized tests (or any tests or grades). When they
finally took their first standardized tests, they excelled at them anyway.
By avoiding stupid tests and meaningless homework and worksheets, they
retained their natural curiosity and love for learning (e.g., reading
history and math books on their own during the summer for fun!). We need to
convince politicians that requiring students to pass standardized tests to
be promoted or graduate will not be a quick fix to the problems that ail
many of our public schools. We also need to convince colleges to stop using
the SAT I as a major criteria in admission. 

Janet Mertz

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