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Math teachers balk at taking test

BOSTON - Massachusetts math teachers are campaigning against taking a pilot version of a state-mandated diagnostic test this summer. The state plans to give the test for real later this year.

The Board of Education voted unanimously in May to test all math teachers from districts where a high percentage of students failed the math portion of the state-mandated MCAS exam. But it's not sitting well with some educators, who have already gone to court claiming the tests are illegal. The Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Massachusetts Federation of Teachers filed a lawsuit against the state, contending it was unfair, illegal, and discriminatory to force teachers to take the tests.

Under the board's decision, teachers will not be penalized for failing. Results will be used to shape a plan to boost the educator's weak points.

China tries to alleviate exam stress

BEIJING - A telephone hotline for students taking China's most competitive test, the university entrance examination, received 600 calls in its first day of operation.

The hotline, which started last week, is supervised by psychologist Wang Jisheng. It aims to improve the confidence and mood of students and to reassure parents. Mr. Wang advised students to do four simple things to prepare for the tests: smile at themselves in the mirror, take relaxing walks, breathe deeply, and take more showers.

Some 3.8 million Chinese high school students took the exams from Friday to Sunday. Competition remains intense for the best universities and most popular subjects.

More money doesn't raise test scores

ATLANTA - New figures from the Census Bureau show that Atlanta's city school system spent the most per student of any large district in Georgia in 1997. But SAT scores posted by the system's students, more than two-thirds of whom qualify for free or reduced-priced lunches, were far below the state average that year. Ron Newcomb, education adviser to Gov. Roy Barnes, suggested that careful targeting of funds was key to good results.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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