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The politics of test scores

As an educator, I wholeheartedly agree that we are testing too much ("Debate rages over how many hours Maryland students should be tested each year," Nov. 15).

But the fact is, in addition to too much testing, what we are testing is not valuable. We are comparing kids across the board instead of evaluating the areas in which they need to grow.

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These mandated tests are merely political instruments, and we should not be using our children for political gains.

In addition to comparing students, tests are also being used to rate teachers. The result is that teachers are pressured to teach to the test, and that is time that could be spent teaching kids to think, reason and use good judgment.

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When are educators going to wake up and realize that instead of over-testing, we need to help our students develop the cognitive skills that will help them succeed not only on tests but in life?

Ben Shifrin, Baltimore

The writer is head of the Jemicy School in Owings Mills.

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