April 7, 1999

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Vol. 18, Issue 30
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For a diverse nation, we share a remarkable consensus with respect to educating children. As reflected in polls and focus groups, Americans are nearly unanimous in their commitment to certain fundamental ideals: that all children have access to a quality education regardless of family income; that they be prepared for happy and productive lives; that they be taught the rights and duties of citizenship; and that the schools help to foster strong and cohesive communities. These are the ideals of public education.
The recent announcement by the Educational Testing Service that its Graduate Management Admission Test would employ a machine--the E-rater--to help rate answers to "essay questions" has caused considerable consternation.
Last year, I chaired a study of appropriate uses of testing for the National Research Council. The NRC panel was a diverse group of 15 scholars from all over the country. We wrote our report, "High Stakes: Testing for Tracking, Promotion, and Graduation," in response to a congressional mandate. The study was prompted by the Clinton administration's proposal, in 1997, for voluntary national tests of 4th grade reading and 8th grade math.
FOUNDATION SUPPORT: Coverage of specific topics in Education Week is supported in part by grants from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CME Group Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. The newspaper retains sole editorial control over the content of the articles that are underwritten by the foundations. Additional grants in support of Editorial Projects in Education’s data journalism and video capacity come from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Schott Foundation for Public Education. (Updated 1/1/2017)

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