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Alvarez, R.M., Sinclair, D.E. and Wilson, C.H., 2004. “Counting ballots and the 2000 election: What went wrong.” Rethinking the vote: The politics and prospects of American election reform.

Imagine a high school, on the day that a comprehensive test is administered to assess the school’s performance relative to statewide standards. Some students answer their tests using pencil and paper, some using a standard “fill in the bubble” form, some with a computer card where they “punch out” their answers, and others using computer terminals. After the test, the school principal announces that because of errors made by the students and the tabulation machines, some of the student tests were not tabulated. Specifically, she announces that while 3% of the “punch out” tests were not tabulated, only 1.5% of the other tests were not scored because of errors. That some of the student tests were not tabulated seems clearly unfair to students, but because twice as many tests were not tabulated due to the particular way in which the students took the test school administrators, parents, students, and people throughout the community would be deeply troubled about the fairness of this testing process.

Rex Deng

Written by Rex Deng

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