New England Common Assessment Program standardized testing in local elementary schools, middle schools and SAT testing in high schools reveal teaching and learning failures. Failure is unpleasant, and some teachers and parents advocate opting out of standardized testing. That might make teaching and parenting easier. It might be easier for students — it won’t improve learning.

Standardized testing enables comparisons of different schools, different classrooms, enables assessment of individual students and individual teachers. It is a tool that, when used judiciously by educators, can improve learning. It hasn’t, but not because the tool is faulty.

Some educators opposed to those tests, or perhaps to any test revealing failure, claim that students who appear to be failing are actually learning.

Some might believe that, but failure continues into college. A report by the Maine Community College System revealed that in 2016, when former ELHS and LHS students were tested for proficiency in language arts and mathematics, 28 of 59 and 23 of 62, respectively, had to take remedial courses to learn what they should have learned before graduating.

Isn’t it wrong to knowingly award diplomas to illiterate and innumerate students? Shouldn’t receiving a diploma require passing a test demonstrating literacy and numeracy?

The validity of standardized tests and the teaching and learning preceding it will be dramatically proven if no local high school graduate matriculated into college has to take a remedial course.

Upon achieving that event, students, teachers, administrators and employers should rejoice. Our high school diplomas will be invested with meaning and value.

Richard Sabine, Lewiston


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