Education

Research And Reports

October 12, 1981 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Two researchers from New Jersey have developed a reading-comprehension test that, they believe, may overcome the problem of “cultural bias.”

Edward B. Fry, director of the Reading Center at Rutgers University, and Marianne Reynolds, a former Rutgers graduate student who is now a reading instructor at Mercer County Community College, characterize their test as more “passage dependent” than the standardized tests now commonly used. That means, Mr. Fry explained, that students cannot answer the questions without reading the text; on conventional tests, he said, students from privileged families often can answer questions without reading the passages. Thus, he said, conventional tests measure not reading comprehen sion but students’ cultural backgrounds, “and that’s basically unfair.”

The new examination, intended for use by high-school students, is based on a passage about a fictional building contractor in Alaska--not a subject even the most widely read student is likely to know much about.

“It’s not cheating at all, but it would tend to make inner cities look better because it measures what kids have really learned to do, not their general background,” Mr. Fry said.

The test is not yet available for use by school systems. Mr. Fry said he hopes to refine it and submit it to a publisher within a year. But, he added, he would welcome inquiries from any large school system interested in helping him develop norms for the exam.

In these times of shrinking education budgets, today’s administrator has to know how to act before state and national legislative bodies.

“You have an unadulterated opportunity to coax the money and power brokers to see your point of view,” John H. Holcomb, superintendent of schools in Lamar, Colo., writes in The American School Board Journal.

In addition to common-sense tips (“research the issue,” “discover where support and opposition lie,” and “know the legislative process”) Mr. Holcomb offers occasional snippets of philosophy--for example: “Testifying can be a lot like selling a used car: The key to success lies not so much in focusing on the merchandise as in convincing the customer that your product is essential to his well-being.” And he passes along tips that none but the most seasoned witness would think of:

“It’s usually best not to bring charts and graphs to hold up: The panel might sit 30 feet away from you and be unable to see much.”

“Be serious but not grim. A smile certainly is in good taste, but don’t open like a master of ceremonies. Avoid informal speaking: the ‘hey, man’ or ‘ya know’ language is declasse.”

“Don’t read to them. Don’t read to them. Don’t read to them!”

And to end the piece, Mr. Holcomb cautions that the old days of influence-buying may be over. “This is a new era,” he writes. “Investigations of certain politicians have found them entangled in activities that were illegal or at least highly questionable...No longer will a night on the town--at the lobbyist’s expense--sway legislators to one position....

“Instead of freebies, take advantage of social occasions at which you can mix with politicians and develop personal ties--but don’t feel you lose anything by picking up the tab.”

A version of this article appeared in the October 12, 1981 edition of Education Week as Research And Reports

Events

School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 15, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 8, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 1, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 11, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read