Readers react: Test scores don't tell us much

4:54 PM, Apr. 26, 2013  |  Comments
Pencil with standardized test answer sheet
Pencil with standardized test answer sheet
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Editor's note: The Daily Herald last week reported and editorialized on new state standardized test scores that found only 36.2 percent of students in north central Wisconsin were proficient in reading and 51.4 percent were proficient in math. The news inspired conversation among readers on and on our Facebook page. Some excerpts:

A good public discussion about what we measure in our education system is important. We have been talking about changing the archaic educational system for years. Teachers are no longer the keeper of knowledge and students understand that. The education system they are in has become irrelevant to the challenges they face in the future.

Learning is about internal motivation, problem-solving skills, interpersonal relationship development, communication across disciplines and making connections between subjects that create new understanding. How are we measuring those themes? How are we teaching them?

There is a need for a basic knowledge base around math, reading, language and the sciences. Teachers can use these subjects to develop and strengthen our natural drive to learn, but measuring a student's ability to perform these tasks does not measure the skills needed for a life of learning or a society of innovation.

The public discussion should first be about what we want to achieve with our education system, not what we want to measure.

- Sherri Waid

The tests are skewed. I know many 10th graders who are excellent students, many 4.0, and they couldn't even finish the test. The numbers then get skewed. If truly that many students were not proficient in reading then the other scores would be much lower also.

- Becky McElhaney

These standardized tests are not an accurate assessment for students knowledge... We are failing our children and their education with them. Teachers are being forced to teach for the test rather than teaching the student based on their learning styles and needs.

- Jennifer Klumpyan-Dougherty

Maybe they moved the goal posts or turned them sideways. Or maybe we rely too much on testing!

- John Enk

I don't see anything alarming in these numbers. This is a single data point based on new testing and not valuable for drawing major conclusions yet.

- Doug Diny

The Daily Herald really dropped the ball here. Talk to parents whose children got these scores. Check and compare last year's scores with these. Wausau is still above the state's average, just like last year. This isn't just Wausau and D.C. Everest; it's the whole state. Gov. Scott Walker's up to something. I'll give you a hint: vouchers.

- Donna M. Coldwell

It appears that most schools in the area are beating the state averages, which is a good thing. But how are they doing compared to other areas in the world? Where does Wisconsin as a whole rank? It definitely could be that the tests are flawed. It could also mean that we actually are falling behind in the skill level of the students. Or, more likely, it's a combination of both.

- Brian Jojade

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