Clubs Griffith explains school testing

Barry Vickrey called us to order for our weekly lunch at the Silver Dollar. Our guests today from Vermillion High School were Kaylie Heesch, Morgan Hollingsworth, Dan Holoch, and Shane Jensen. Planning for Rotary's "Chili Social" on Feb. 11 proceeds apace. Members are encouraged to invite guests.

Bob Mayer introduced our guest speaker, Len Griffith, head of counseling at Vermillion High School, who came to tell us something of the bewildering variety of tests and other assessment measures that are being deployed these days in our schools. Some of the most recent tests being introduced are part of the "No Child Left Behind" national legislation that requires more testing than before, particularly for grades 3 to 8. But this legislation has also required some changes in the assortment of tests used at the high school level.

Griffith also discussed the tests many students take as part of college applications namely the ACT and SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) tests (the latter not to be confused with the "other" SAT tests, the Stanford Achievement Test administered to all high school students).

Whether this spate of testing will be beneficial or whether it will even accurately measure students' abilities is by no means clear, Griffith noted. It is clear that learning some test-taking skills and other pre-test preparation can make a significant difference in test outcomes.

The counseling program at Vermillion High School, often with regard to counseling students on their future education, now includes analyzing performance on a wide variety of tests.

Rotarians briefed on Middle East conflict

USD political science professor Tim Schorn briefed Rotary members and guests Tuesday on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, concluding that a solution is still some years away.

Schorn described the issues that divide the two sides of this long term � over 50 years � world problem. One of these issues, recognition, was essentially resolved by the Oslo Accords of the 1990s when the Palestinians recognized the right of Israel to exist as a country and Israel recognized the right of the Palestine Liberation Organization to represent the Palestinian peoples.

The remaining five contentious areas were then discussed by Schorn, who identified them as borders, settlements, water, refugees and Jerusalem. All of these are tough indeed, he said, but they are also negotiable, and some common ground has been identified.

The United States will continue to play an important role in any Israeli-Palestinian conversations, Schorn said, because this country is the only one with influence sufficient to bring all sides to the diplomatic table, despite what many perceive as American partiality toward Israel. He feels that the conflict was a 20th century one that could and should have been resolved in the 20th century. Schorn is hopeful, however, that the long standing troubles will be settled in "our lifetime."

Guests of Rotarians Tuesday noon included Darwin Van Den Oever of CorTrust Bank in Vermillion, and Tara Job, Parker Johnson, Bryce Kauer and Lindsey Kenton, all seniors at Vermillion High School.

Seniors enjoy cards despite snowfall

The first snow arrived since winter became official, Wednesday, Jan. 15 finding 18 pitch and 20 bridge players at the Senior Citizens Center.

Bridge prizes went to Clois Smith, first; Sarah Brown, second; Reidella Engman, third; Lovella Matson, blind bogey; and Ernie Miller, low.

Reidella Engman and Robin Eisenmenger furnished refreshments for coffee break.

Men and women are welcome. No reservations needed.

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