Bob Shepherd posted this reading list on testing.
The list was compiled by Alfie Kohn.
I have a few additions:
Todd Farley, Making the Grades
Banesh Hoffman, The Tyranny of Testing
Phil Harris, The Myth of Standardized Testing
Jim Horn and Denise Wilburn, The Mismeasure of Education
Daniel Koretz, Measuring Up
Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
Richard Rothstein, Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right
For a short online version of the Rothstein critique that is very powerful, read “Holding Accountability to Account“
Here is Alfie Kohn’s list:
The “five fatal flaws” of the Tougher Standards movement are adapted from Alfie Kohn’s book THE SCHOOLS OUR CHILDREN DESERVE, from which a shorter book called THE CASE AGAINST STANDARDIZED TESTING has been spun off.
You may also be interested in a list of essays about standards and testing available on this website.
Two books on standards: WILL STANDARDS SAVE PUBLIC EDUCATION?, a short essay by Deborah Meier followed by comments from other thinkers, published by Beacon Press;
ONE SIZE FITS FEW: The Folly of Educational Standards, by Susan Ohanian, published by Heinemann.
A collection of essays about the destructive effects of (and dubious intentions behind) NCLB: MANY CHILDREN LEFT BEHIND (Beacon Press), with contributions by Meier and Kohn as well as Ted Sizer, Linda Darling-Hammond, George Wood, Stan Karp, and Monty Neill of FairTest.
Also on NCLB: WHEN SCHOOL REFORM GOES WRONG by Nel Noddings (Teachers College Press); and ENGLISH LEARNERS LEFT BEHIND: Standardized Testing as Language Policy by Kate Menken (Multilingual Matters).
Also see NoChildLeft.com and this excellent summary of the law and its effects.
Other books about testing:
- Phillip Harris et al., The Myths of Standardized Tests (Rowman & Littlefield, 2011)
- Sharon L. Nichols & David C. Berliner, Collateral Damage: How High-Stakes Testing Corrupts America’s Schools (Harvard Education Press)
- Sherman Dorn, Accountability Frankenstein: Understanding & Taming the Monster (Information Age, 2007)
- M. Gail Jones et al., The Unintended Consequences of High-Stakes Testing (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003)
- Linda McNeil, Contradictions of School Reform: Educational Costs of Standardized Testing (Routledge, 2000)
Marita Moll, ed., Passing the Test: The False Promises of Standardized Testing (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2004)
- Kathy Swope and Barbara Miner, eds., Failing Our Kids: Why the Testing Craze Won’t Fix Our Schools (Rethinking Schools, 2000)
Gary Orfield and Mindy L. Kornhaber, ed., Raising Standards or Raising Barriers?: Inequality and High-Stakes Testing in Public Education (Century Foundation Press, 2001)
- Peter Sacks, Standardized Minds (Perseus, 1999)
- W. James Popham, Testing! Testing!: What Every Parent Should Know About School Tests (Allyn and Bacon, 2000)
- Gerald Bracey, Put to the Test: An Educator’s and Consumer’s Guide to Standardized Testing (Phi Delta Kappa, 1998).
A book about Nebraska’s recently aborted attempt to build assessment from the classroom up, thereby challenging the top-down premise not only of NCLB but of the whole “accountability” movement of which it’s a part: Chris W. Gallagher, Reclaiming Assessment: A Better Alternative to the Accountability Agenda (Heinemann, 2007)
Information from and about FairTest, the leading national organization offering a critical perspective on standardized testing. Its website, http://www.fairtest.org, includes an evaluation of every state’s testing policy and links to a listserv called the Assessment Reform Network. A related group, the Coalition for Authentic Reform in Education (CARE), which opposes the new testing program in Massachusetts, has drafted an alternative assessment proposal — a very useful document for anyone who wonders (or is asked), “If not standardized tests, then what?” For a more recent answer to that question, see Ken Jones’s article “A Balanced School Accountability Model: An Alternative to High-Stakes Testing” in the April 2004 issue of Phi Delta Kappan.
A remarkable collection of examples of, and essays about, the destructive effects of standardized testing and related policies at http://www.susanohanian.org.
A list of state and national websites devoted to challenging the tests can be found about halfway down the page devoted to practical strategies. Note in particular a new (2011) group called “United Opt Out National,” with a website and Facebook page, devoted to organizing people to refuse to take the tests.
Audio- and videotapes of presentations by Alfie Kohn on these topics: http://www.alfiekohn.org/tapesdvd.htm
A powerful study that finds no evidence of improvement on national exams (such as the NAEP and the SAT) for states that use high-stakes testing. Rising scores on state tests appear to reflect only training to do well on those particular tests; indeed, by some measures, students in high-stakes states actually fare worse on independent measures of achievement.
Beardsley and Berliner on “High-Stakes Testing, Uncertainty, and Student Learning” http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/297/423
A devastating analysis, based on the high-stakes TAAS test in Texas, of how efforts to raise scores effectively undermine the quality of teaching and learning — and how this effect is most pronounced in schools that serve poor and minority students. This chapter, by Linda McNeil and Angela Valenzuela, is included in the book mentioned above, Raising Standards or Raising Barriers?. For the most comprehensive analysis of the effects of testing in Texas, click here to be linked to a lengthy article by Walt Haney.
Research demonstrating that when teachers are held accountable for raising standards and test scores, they tend to become so controlling in their teaching style that the quality of students’ performance actually declines:
Flink et al., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 59, 1990: 916-24.
Deci et al., Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 74, 1982: 852-59.
Pelletier et al., Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 94, 2002: 186-96.
Copyright © 2007 by Alfie Kohn. This article may be downloaded, reproduced, and distributed without permission as long as each copy includes this notice along with the author’s name. Permission must be obtained in order to reprint this article in a published work or in order to offer it for sale in any form. Please write to the address indicated on the Contact page at http://www.alfiekohn.org.