Tests aren't always the definitive answer

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By The Staff

Report cards - you gotta love 'em. They keep parents informed about how well our children are doing in school. They also let us know the areas in which our children may need help.

And good report cards are a sign that our schools are indeed teaching our children what they need to know in their journey to adulthood.

A story on today's front page tells us about local results for the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which requires states to provide information on schools' and districts' progress toward proficiency by 2014.

NCLB requires that schools and districts be held accountable for the progress of groups of students - minority students, low-income students, students with disabilities, students with limited-English proficiency - in reading and math.

It appears that, locally, we have some problems - math for all students and reading for students with disabilities.

But with the NCLB Act, it's all or nothing. Schools either meet the goals or they don't. There's no middle ground.

All Kentucky students are expected to reach "proficiency" - or scores of 100 - by the year 2014. That's not too far in our future.

But judging from all the education programs our schools are participating in, they seem to have success in their sights.

But let's face it, standardized test scores aren't always an accurate measure of students' aptitude.

It's a fact that some students simply don't test well.

It's not uncommon for some students to complete all their homework assignments, have a good grasp of educational topics and a pleasant attitude, yet they don't fare well when it comes down to filling in the little circles with a No. 2 pencil.

Too bad there's not a place on the tests for that.