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Oh! The Tests You’ll Take–What Dr. Seuss Might Have Written Today

Perhaps, had Dr. Seuss been alive today, he might have written the counterpart to Oh! The Places You’ll Go and called it: Oh! The Tests You’ll Take.

One of the things I like to do with this blog is to bring to your attention things you might have missed. Here’s one for ya:

Tips for the Admissions Test…for Kindergarten is a piece from last week’s New York Times that looks at just how out of control the testing craze has become. But wait, there’s more, as in more tests a comin’.

Here’s a little taste of the article:

Private schools warn that they will look negatively on children they
suspect of being prepped for the tests they use to select students,
like the Educational Records Bureau
exam, or E.R.B., even though parents and admissions officers say it
quietly takes place. (Bright Kids, for example, also offers E.R.B.
tutoring.)

“It’s unethical,” said Dr. Elisabeth Krents, director of admissions at the Dalton School
on the Upper East Side. “It completely negates the reason for giving
the test, which is to provide a snapshot of their aptitudes, and it
doesn’t correlate with their future success in school.”

No
similar message, however, has come from the public schools. In fact,
the city distributes 16 Olsat practice questions to “level the playing
field,” said Anna Commitante, the head of gifted and talented programs for the city’s Department of Education.

And there were a slew of Letters to the Editor. Here’s a good one from Edward Miller, Founding Partner of the Alliance for Childhood:

Both the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test and the Bracken School
Readiness Assessment are deceptively named. Neither one reliably
measures young children’s knowledge, ability, talent or readiness for
school. Using these tests — or any standardized test — to sort children
into groups of “gifted” and, presumably, “not gifted” is educational
malpractice.

New York should follow the lead of North Carolina,
which prohibits the use of public funds for standardized testing of
children before third grade.

Edward Miller
New York, Nov.
21, 2009

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