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Weigh Virginia Tests On a Global Scale

To the Editor: Let me try to provide a little perspective on the "massive failure rates" of Virginia's schools on the new Standards of Learning program ("Massive Failure Rates on New Tests Daze Virginia," Jan. 20,1999). "Massive" in this case means 97 percent of the schools failed. Consider these three facts:

1. In the Third International Mathematics and Science Study, 41 nations participated. Only six outscored Iowa in math, only one in science. 2. Students in Iowa score between the 62nd and 68th percentile on domestic achievement tests, depending on grade and test. 3. Students at Robinson and West Springfield high schools, two Fairfax County, Va., high schools that are neither the highest- nor the lowest-scoring in the district, score between the 75th and 80th percentile on domestic standardized tests.

Thus, Iowa outscores virtually all countries, and the students at Robinson and West Springfield score considerably better than students in Iowa.

Both high schools failed to meet the standards on the new tests.

Little wonder that Fairfax County Superintendent Daniel A. Domenech said that the "results are so ridiculous that no one will pay attention to them."

Gerald W Bracey

Alexandria, Va

Vol. 18, Issue 27, Pages 59-61

Published in Print: February 3, 1999, as Letters

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