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Letter: Literacy test was flawed, drove good teachers away

Literacy test was flawed, drove good teachers away

The News editorial, “Restore the literacy test,” misses the point of why the New York State Board of Regents voted to eliminate the Academic Literary Skills Test (ALST).

We applaud and support the Regents for making this decision, an educated, well-reasoned move that took into account almost three years of complaints about the exam from experienced educators as well as recommendations from a statewide task force made up of teacher educators, K-12 teachers and school district superintendents.

Simply put, the ALST was a deeply flawed exam that did not match the college curriculum or accepted professional standards. Groups of faculty who paid to take the test consistently reported that the ALST had poorly worded questions with more than one correct answer and a serious discrepancy between the test’s content and its purported goals.

Not only is the test needlessly duplicative of student literary assessments across required college courses and in the other exams required for teacher certification – which was pointed out by several Regents and state task force members – it provides an unfair, inaccurate assessment of a teacher candidate’s high-level reading and writing skills.

Too many talented future teachers have been driven out of our state because of poorly designed and expensive exams like the ALST.

Frederick E. Kowal

President

United University Professions

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