As an 11th-grade student currently attending a Montgomery County Public High School, I am inclined to agree with the opinion presented in “Joshua Starr wants to change the orientation of schools” [Nov. 21].
As it stands, there is a huge emphasis on standardized tests, which forces teachers to focus on preparing students for the fairly rigid content that appears on the tests rather than teaching them for the sake of knowledge. This should not be so. The role of our educational system is to give students the knowledge and values they need to succeed in the adult world, not to turn them into test-taking machines. A quality education can have an incredible influence on a student’s entire life; standardized test results do not. A 2001 study by the Brookings Institution revealed that these test results are not even reliable indicators of student learning because 50 percent to 80 percent of yearly increases in test scores are temporary and caused by “fluctuations that had nothing to do with long-term changes in learning.”
Though Superintendent Starr has not revealed his specific plans yet, his promise to create intelligent, productive citizens instead of test-taking machines is a step in the right direction.
Andrew Bent, Germantown