The Deadly Effects Of “Tougher Standards”: Challenging High-Stakes Testing and Other Impediments to Learning – (Lecture Topic)

THE DEADLY EFFECTS OF "TOUGHER STANDARDS":  Challenging High-Stakes Testing and Other Impediments to Learning The main effect "of the drive for so-called higher standards in schools is that the children are too busy to think," said John Holt in 1959. Today, an ill-informed version of school reform has been embraced by politicians, corporate executives, and journalists, all demanding "accountability," which ... Read More

Remember When We Had High Standards? Neither Do I (##)

 “In recent years, parents have cried in dismay that their children could not read out loud, could not spell, could not write clearly,” while “employers have said that mechanics could not read simple directions. Many a college has blamed high schools for passing on students…who could not read adequately to study college subjects; high schools . . . (Read More)

Teachers Describe the Harms of Test-Driven School Reform

To understand the true impact of raise-the-bar, close-the-gap “school reform” – the type demanded by corporate executives, imposed by politicians of both parties, and celebrated by pundits – you need to hear from the people who spend their days in real classrooms. Never mind that no credible evidence has ever shown that children benefit from high-stakes testing, . . . (Read More)

Teachers Who Refuse to Hand Out the Tests

What if they gave a test and nobody came? Or what if all the students came, but the teachers refused to give them a test? The civil rights movement succeeded not only because good laws were eventually passed (mandating desegregation) but because ordinary people refused to obey bad laws. Rather than just complaining about policies . . . (Read More)

The Trouble with Rubrics (#)

ENGLISH JOURNAL March 2006 -- vol. 95, no. 4 The Trouble with Rubrics By Alfie Kohn Once upon a time I vaguely thought of assessment in dichotomous terms:  The old approach, which consisted mostly of letter grades, was crude and uninformative, while the new approach, which included things like portfolios and rubrics, was detailed and authentic.  Only much later did ... Read More

State-Mandated Testing: Why We Opt Out

EDUCATION WEEK March 12, 2003 State-Mandated Testing: Why We Opt Out When it comes to testing mandates, we exercise our rights as parents to protect our children from activities not in their interests. By Catherine Ross Hamel & Fred L. Hamel When district- or state-mandated testing comes around in our children's public schools, we opt out. We inform our kids' ... Read More

Requesting Testing

RETHINKING SCHOOLS Summer 2002 Requesting Testing By Alfie Kohn One of the most disturbing educational consequences of high-stakes testing has been the diminution or even elimination of activities that are not tested.  If it's not on the exam, it doesn't count - and so teachers feel they don't have the luxury of holding class meetings to promote democratic decision-making, or ... Read More

Teacher Won’t Administer CSAP Tests

DENVER POST Jan. 27, 2001 Teacher Won't Administer CSAP Tests By Percy Ednalino Jan. 27, 2001 - A middle-school teacher in Greeley said Friday that herefuses to administer the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests to his students because they clash with his beliefs as an educator. This is the first time a teacher has refused to administer the tests, officials ... Read More

Standardized Testing and Its Victims (**)

EDUCATION WEEK September 27, 2000 Standardized Testing and Its Victims By Alfie Kohn 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 ... Read More

The Insanity of Testing Mania

GREENSOBORO [N. CAROLINA] NEWS & RECORD June 11, 2000 The Insanity of Testing Mania By Irv Besecker In Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Alice falls into a hole and alternately grows larger and then smaller. As she grows larger, she cannot find her feet, which is when she forgot proper grammar and remarked that things were getting "curiouser and curiouser." Carroll ... Read More