New debates about the worthiness of standardized testing in schools.
Beginning with a comprehensive history of standardized testing, NPR education blogger Kamenetz (DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, 2010, etc.) shows how this method of analysis morphed into standard practice in the American school system to assess the abilities of students and teachers alike. The author identifies 10 major problems associated with this form of testing, including the fact that these tests analyze the wrong data, waste time and money, put undue stress on students, parents and teachers, cause teaching to the test and disregard the diversity of the test-takers. When the Common Core State Standards initiative takes effect in 2015, American students will be subjected to even more tests, which Kamenetz believes will only exacerbate the problems already identified with this method. Not only are standardized tests asking the wrong questions, but they are being used the wrong way: “as a single, stand-alone measure of the performance of teachers, students, schools, and districts.” Using thorough research and illuminating interviews, the author provides readers with effective solutions to implement on both the individual level—opt out of taking standardized tests or work on individual projects that emphasize a variety of skills, not just language arts and math—and the national level, where assessments of student performance should be used for the greater good of the community as well as the individual. With abundant data assembled in an accessible format, the book is a must-read for anyone in the educational system or any parent who has a child old enough to enter preschool. The author amply shows why the current process of evaluation must be upgraded to meet future needs.
An informative and enlightening appraisal of the regimented tests that American schoolchildren of all ages are subjected to taking on a regular basis.