Flawed school assessments [Letter]

March 28, 2014

In response to your article on the new school assessments (PARCC), there is no mention of their validation using accepted research methods ("Superintendent wants to keep local control over schools," March 25).

There should be at least the gold standard of 500 in the cohort; 250 experimentals and 250 controls. For example, since teachers teach to the test, 250 students could receive MSA preparation and testing, and 250 receive PARCC preparation and testing, and then compare the two testing results.

PARCC additionally may not be a reliable measure of student academic progress if, as reported, it contains a "simplified" paragraph reading format by omitting portions thereof. Further, some students with learning disabilities (one-fifth of the population) who reverse certain letters and numbers may never learn key-boarding and most likely will fail online-only testing.

Last, it is essential to monitor student progress with such standardized tests as the Maryland State Assessments. To do otherwise will likely compound academic roadblocks to learning for those struggling with Harvard non-educator designed Common Core curriculum causing alarming complaints, and the elimination of cursive writing. Since all other Western countries still teach cursive writing, how does its elimination from U.S. students' studies prepare them for the global economy?

Hilda Coyne, Baltimore

The writer is a learning specialist with A-1 Evaluation and Tutoring.

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