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I.R.A. Reaffirms Opposition to State Comparisons

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The International Reading Association has reaffirmed its opposition to state-by-state comparisons of student performance in that subject.

Acting at its annual meeting in Atlanta this month, the group adopted a resolution, similar to one adopted last year, that opposes the proliferation of testing and large-scale assessments that compare states.

"There is a sense that there is too much assessment going on now, and that comparisons will not enhance instruction," said Richard M. Long, the ira's Washington representative. "They see assessment as something done to children, not for children."

In 1992, the National Assessment of Educational Progress will conduct a pilot state-level assessment in 4th-grade reading. The results will provide the first state-by-state comparisons of reading achievement.

Roy Truby, executive staff director of the National Assessment Governing Board, said the framework for the reading assessment represents a sharp departure from previous naep tests, and added that he hoped the ira would reconsider its position and support the project.

"Although the final decisions [about participating in the state-level assessment] are normally made by chief state school officers, legislators, and governors, they can influence the decision," he said. "I consider them an important group."--rr

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