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Letters to the editor – Thursday (8-21-08)

Test scores depend on the group tested
Having read several articles about the numbers posted by local students, I feel compelled to comment about the improvement and progress goals of our local, state and federal educational systems.
Does anyone really expect test scores to improve every year? If so, you aren’ being realistic. Each batch or class of students is different, and their abilities are pretty much determined at conception. There is no super drug that will produce continuous improvement in the intellectual and academic abilities of human beings. Each individual is just that, individual, and, when grouped with other individuals born in the same year, make up a group that will either be more or less capable than the year before. To take one year’s test results and judge an entire administration, faculty and staff’s efforts from the test scores of that particular group is, well, not real intelligent.
I spent a year in the classroom and can say from experience that the capabilities of the group that you have will determine “progress.” It’s like the polls that we are bombarded with by the national media. They poll 1,000 or so people and tell us that this candidate is leading another candidate among those polled. Well, don’t the results depend on which 1,000 people you ask?
Test scores are no different. It depends on the sample. Not all kids can grow up to be doctors. We need nurses, deliverymen, janitors and everything in between to make it all work. As far as I can tell, the only way to continually have high test scores is to only test the future doctors.
To all of you on the front lines, keep pushing each individual kid to be all he or she can be. Some years scores will be better and some years they may not be. That doesn’t mean you’re not doing your job.
ó Jeff Chapman
Salisbury
Unlearned lessons
Regarding Elizabeth Cook’s Aug. 17 column and Leonard Pitts’ Aug. 16 column:
There were actually two lessons that John Edwards didn’t learn, to wit:
1. That those in positions of power are not exempt from the rules of conduct that apply to the rest of us. Regardless of our status, we all have to answer for our behavior.
2. The “error in judgment” that he claimed to have made was calling what he did an “error in judgment.” Most folks would have simply said that they did something wrong that they shouldn’t have done.
ó Stephen V. Gilmore
Charlotte

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