What is the best way to write an essay, in your opinion?
Allowing the words to flow from your fingertips is the beginning of the most beautiful essays. I love to begin writing with all of the knowledge I already know and then go back and build upon what I have. There are many methods to writing, but I have found that the most enjoyable experiences with writing come when there is no pressure and I am able to express all of my thoughts before making corrections.
How important is proper grammar?
The use of proper grammar is of exponential importance because it is the first way another person evaluates you. It is the utmost means of "first impressions" and we are judged, based on our grammar, daily.
Is standardized testing a useful measure of learning?
Absolutely not. There are a multitude of ways to evaluate comprehension and standardized testing is merely one of them. In order to fully evaluate a person's level of understanding of subject matter, a complete portfolio should be considered that includes writing samples, creative projects, running records, and possibly standardized tests.