Don’t dismiss utility of written tests for students

The Herald’s recent feature inviting students to write to the editor has made for some interesting reading. It was surprising, though, to see the almost 100 percent opposition to standardized written tests, an opposition apparently shared by teachers, some of which would prefer oral testing.

Isn’t school supposed to prepare youngsters for life? If so, we are failing badly. Kids, think about it: The next “standardized” test you will probably face is the written portion of your driving test. After that will follow various SATs, entrance exams, pre-employment tests, military classification tests, bar exams, you name them; none of which are oral tests. Those will have to wait until the end of graduate school, if you get far enough to defend a master’s project or a doctoral thesis.

One teacher wrote in suggesting schools should determine whether a child responds better to orally stated problems than to written ones. First of all, teachers have more important tasks than that. Is it possible the student prefers oral questions because he/she has been promoted to the next higher grade despite poor reading comprehension? Let’s be realistic and actually try to prepare our youngsters for the challenges of their future world.

Frank Baumann


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