I am a recently retired teacher (science teacher for 30 years) and feel compelled to respond to the editorial in the newspaper, “Opting out a poor way to push for change in testing,” on March 2. The editorial missed some important details of the testing.

The MEA mathematics and English language arts/literacy (the Smarter Balanced Test) is Internet-based, so a limited number of students can take it at once and no one can be online during this time. Therefore, a test that is advertised as taking “seven days” results in major disruption to a typical middle school schedule for four to seven weeks.

Another issue to consider is that this test isn’t the only test our kids are taking. Most students take NWEAs multiple times, fifth- and eighth-graders take the MEA science test, and certain grades are required to take additional federal and state tests.

The results of the Smarter Balance Test mean nothing to the students. Unlike a classroom exam where they get a grade, or SATs, which are needed for higher education, the Smarter Balanced Test makes no difference to kids and their future. How much effort would we put into a test that didn’t matter, especially if the test was extremely long and difficult? How valid can the results be?

Why are we doing this to our schools and kids? I encourage people to talk with local school officials and find out the details of the test in their district. Parents and community members should do what they can to protect our children and schools from the burden of too much standardized testing. There are better ways to find out how our students think and what they have learned.

Susan M. Kistenmacher


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