Monday, August 30, 2010

The Case Against Standardized Testing

Here is the introduction to Alfie Kohn's book The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools.

Standardized testing has swelled and mutated, like a creature in one of those old horror movies, to the point that it now threatens to swallow our schools whole. Of course, on the late, late show no one ever insists that the monster is really doing us a favor by making its victims more "accountable". In real life, plenty of people need to be convinced that these tests do not provide an objective measure of learning or a useful inducement to improve teaching, that they are not only unnecessary but highly dangerous. This book was written to challenge those who defend the tests.

Other readers are already well aware of what is being sacrificed in the drive to raise scores, but they may find it helpful to have a few facts or research results at their fingertips, a quotable phrase or a set of answers to commonly asked questions. This book was written to assist those who oppose the tests.

Still others want for neither reasons nor rhetoric; what they lack is the requisite sense of urgency or the belief that they can make a difference. This book was written to energize and encourage those who have resigned themselves to the tests.

The more we learn about standardized testing, particularly in its high-stakes incarnation, the more likely we are to be appalled. And the more we are appalled, the more inclined we will be to do what is necessary to protect our children from this monster in the schools.

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