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Be careful when trying to compare students
Recent news stories have focused on the gap between math and reading skills compared on an international basis by the International Student Assessment. Be skeptical of those results because of all the factors involved in those scores. For example, who took the test? Were students selected on a random basis? Was the translation of reading and math levels into a variety of languages comparable? What was the climate of the testing site? How motivated were students to take a test if they were not required to take it for graduation?
One thing seems to be shown clearly in the test results internationally and in Minnesota. Asian students do exceeding well. I believe that is because many Asian cultures teach their children the importance of working hard at school as a way to get ahead. It is certainly true that much can be done to improve our schools, but I believe one overlooked factor is the value of education taught in the family.
HOWARD LEWIS, Cambridge, Minn.
We’ve learned that teacher training works
The Editorial Board comes to a conclusion that many teachers know from experience — that investing in teacher professionalism through job-embedded professional development, teacher leadership, teacher evaluation and alternative pay structures can make a difference for students if done correctly with more teacher input (“Boondoggle or not? Assessing Q Comp,” Nov. 30).
While the results of the Q Comp study referenced were not conclusive, the improved reading scores for districts with longer implementation merit further time and attention. In addition, the more opportunities we can provide educators for learning and collaboration the better, and Q Comp is designed to create these important avenues. Given the magnitude of the opportunity gaps in education, we need to do whatever we can to boost student achievement.
The writer is executive director of Educators 4 Excellence Minnesota.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.