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What Multiple-Choice Exams Don't Cover

As a physicist, I understand the need for concept-oriented thinkers such as Kenneth Goodman of the University of Arizona.

However, concepts need a rational and fundamental underpinning; thus the need for precise reading, accurate writing, word sounding, and memorized math tables.

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Note the recent ''Apollo 13'' movie: First, when the three astronauts' lives were at stake, the engineers used fundamental slide rules, not calculators, to ensure their life-saving calculations were correct. Second, the operation's manager used a chalkboard because the overhead projector was undependable. And third, the necessary electrical power-saving procedures were not computer-resolved or even resolved by team effort but by one man thinking through and testing sequences based on fundamental understanding of the spacecraft's operation.

Leo C. Rogers Mesa, Ariz.