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State Education Officials To Fix Test Blunders
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 11, 2005

FREDERICK, MARYLAND--Here's one for the "What on Earth were they thinking?" file.

The Maryland School Assessment, which is required for all public schools in the state, includes a math and a reading test for students in grades 3 through 8.

According to the Frederick News-Post, the reading section for grade 3 and 4 students requires them to match up pairs of words with similar sounds, such as the vowel sound for the "a" in the words "castle" and "manner". The idea, one education official said, was to determine whether a student can sound out portions of a word.

That didn't mean much to students at the Maryland School for the Deaf.

"As a deaf person, I'm not familiar with sounds," explained James E. Tucker, the school's superintendent who complained to state education officials. "I have a problem answering these questions myself, and I'm an education man."

A spokesman for Maryland's Department of Education said that the test will be changed so that the questions will be more appropriate for all students before it is given again in March.

The department will also adjust the test scores for deaf and hard-of-hearing students at the school.

"We just want the tests to be fair," said Tucker.

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