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April 5, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Common medical procedures you may not need

Education parallel

Nine medical societies have identified a list of tests and procedures that are unnecessary, that cause needless anxiety and that cost billions that could be spent on helpful medical care. [“Medical procedures that you may not need,” News, April 5.]

A similar action needs to be taken in education: The U.S. Department of Education is promoting the most extensive testing plan ever seen on this planet, far more than what is now required under No Child Left Behind. More subjects will be tested, more grade levels will be tested, “interim” tests will be given during the year and we might also have “pretests” in the fall. There is no evidence that this increase in testing will increase learning, and good reason to suspect that it will result in needless anxiety. It will also waste billions of dollars that could be spent in ways that help children learn.

Education needs to follow the lead of the Choosing Wisely coalition and determine which tests are necessary and which are not.

Christine Cassel, President of the American Board of Internal Medicine, noted that “more is not necessarily better” when it comes to medical tests and procedures. The same may be true for tests in education.

— Kathryn Egawa, Seattle

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