The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools

Overview

Our students are tested to an extent that is unprecedented in American history and unparalleled anywhere in the world. Politicians and businesspeople, determined to get tough with students and teachers, have increased the pressure to raise standardized test scores. Unfortunately, the effort to do so typically comes at the expense of more meaningful forms of learning.

That disturbing conclusion emerges from Alfie Kohn's devastating new indictment of standardized testing. Drawing ...

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Overview

Our students are tested to an extent that is unprecedented in American history and unparalleled anywhere in the world. Politicians and businesspeople, determined to get tough with students and teachers, have increased the pressure to raise standardized test scores. Unfortunately, the effort to do so typically comes at the expense of more meaningful forms of learning.

That disturbing conclusion emerges from Alfie Kohn's devastating new indictment of standardized testing. Drawing from the latest research, he concisely explains just how little test results really tell us and just how harmful a test-driven curriculum can be. Written in a highly readable question-and-answer format, The Case Against Standardized Testing will help readers respond to common questions and challenges-showing, for example, that:

  • high scores often signify relatively superficial thinking
  • many of the leading tests were never intended to measure teaching or learning
  • a school that improves its test results may well have lowered its standards to do so
  • far from helping to "close the gap," the use of standardized testing is most damaging for low-income and minority students
  • as much as 90 percent of the variations in test scores among schools or states have nothing to do with the quality of instruction
  • far more meaningful measures of student learning-or school quality-are available.
Kohn's central message is that standardized tests are "not like the weather, something to which we must resign ourselves. . . . They are not a force of nature but a force of politics-and political decisions can be questioned, challenged, and ultimately reversed." The final section demonstrates how teachers, parents, and students can turn their frustration into action and successfully turn back the testing juggernaut in order to create classrooms that focus on learning.

Also available on Audiotape: The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools, read by Alfie Kohn.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The more we learn about standardized testing.the more likely we are to be appalled. And the more appalled we are, the more inclined we will be to do what is necessary to protect our children.”–Alfie Kohn
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325003252
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 9/8/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 104
  • Sales rank: 514,024
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.26 (d)

Meet the Author

Alfie Kohn was recently described by Time magazine as "perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades [and] test scores." He is the author of seven previous books on education and human behavior, including Punished by Rewards (1993), Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community (1996), and The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and "Tougher Standards" (1999). A former teacher, Kohn now works with educators across the country and speaks regularly at national conferences. He lives (actually) in Belmont, Mass. and (virtually) at www.alfiekohn.org.
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Table of Contents

Measuring What Matters Least

The Worst Tests

Burnt at the High Stakes

Poor Teaching for Poor Kids

If Not Standardized Tests, Then What?

Fighting the Tests

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