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The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools Paperback – September 8, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-3250032540 ISBN-10: 0325003254

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 17 years
  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann (September 8, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0325003254
  • ISBN-13: 978-3250032540
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“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

About 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.

More About the Author

Alfie Kohn writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and parenting. He is the author of twelve books and hundreds of articles. Kohn has been described by Time Magazine as "perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades and test scores." He has appeared twice on "Oprah," as well as on "The Today Show," NPR's "Talk of the Nation," and on many other TV and radio programs. He spends much of his time speaking at education conferences, as well as to parent groups, school faculties, and researchers. Kohn lives (actually) in the Boston area - and (virtually) at www.alfiekohn.org.

Customer Reviews

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See all 16 customer reviews
This book is concise and compelling.
A. Abruzzese
This offers excellent material for the case against standardized testing.
Randy Given
This book is a must read for every parent and educator.
Gregory D. Trombly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Sigrid Olsen on June 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
High stakes testing is the foot and mouth disease of both the United States and Canada. This fall I'm heading back to teach in Oregon after 15 years in Canada. I was hoping that I would be able to have a respite for my kids (not for me!) and my brother tells me that they are doing the same thing in Oregon.
High Stakes testing closes the door on our middle of the road kids, the late bloomers, and of course the others discussed in Kohn's book.
But the sad thing is is that the parents who should spearhead the effort to end this modern day gristmill--the dismal paper chase of childhood--are the very ones who say "only for my child," or openly brag about their children's test scores.
He's right--those test scores only measure the square footage of the homes that surround the schools. And worse, teachers participate by earning their blood money by marking the tests! I've had kids give up hope when faced with the test at the end of the tunnel, things are so bad that in Calgary, in my daughter's middle class high school, only 52% of the students graduated. They flood the adult education centre in efforts to "upgrade." Finally they renamed the centre to Chinook College.
I love Kohn's book, and heard him speak, the only depressing thing is that in two combined nations of over 300 million, I am the fourth review!
Forget about making teachers accountable. I'd trade my tenure anyday in an effort to get rid of these tests. . .
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Gregory D. Trombly on December 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Death and taxes are often quoted as givens in our society. In the world of education, one might add standardized testing to this grouping. If we examine the current call for educational standards in this country and the accompanying emphasis on high stakes standardized testing, one may immediately recall the discomfort of sitting in a room of silent test takers, usually a gymnasium with only the sounds of the proctors and their wing-tipped shoes creaking up and down the rows as answers are feverishly bubbled in with number two pencils. Alfie Kohn, reseracher and an outspoken critic of our public school system and its emphasis on competition, brings to light in this book, a need for a modern day "call to arms." For Kohn, establishes a strong framework from the start, as he characterizes standardized tests as having "swelled and mutated, like a creature in one of those old horror movies to the point that it now threatens to swallow our school whole." Over the course of just 94 pages, Kohn writes a deftly crafted text, with chapter titles that in and of themselves provoke, such as, "Measuring What Matters Least," "The Worst Tests," and "Burnt at the High Stakes," just to name three of the six section titles. This book is a must read for every parent and educator. Kohn aptly sets the stage for his final section, entitled, "Fighting the Tests," a call to action by teachers, adminstrators, parents and students to resist in any way possible the onslaught of standardized testing and standards. Kohn, puts forth very concrete ways to resist current efforts that are being imposed by various government agencies throughout our country.Read more ›
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Gary S. Stager on October 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is an extremely important book written by a courageous thoughtful and articulate spokesman for children. Kohn explains to citizens, school administrators and parents punch-drunk with an insatiable quest for tests and test scores just how much their simplistic efforts at school 'improvement' damage our schools and the learning potential of kids.
The costs are just too high for this national obsession and escalation of educational violence to go unchecked. The testing war is financed by textbook publishers, corporations and dubious politicians, like George W. Bush, who equate learning with measurement, the casualties are children and creative teachers.
Those advocating nutty ideas like annual (or even more frequent) mandatory standardized testing are transforming our public schools from social institutions where intellect and creativity are socially constructed into corporatized sterile test-preparation centers.
Alfie Kohn's new book should be purchased in quantity and distributed at school parent nights, school board meetings, cocktail parties and teacher lounges. Alfie Kohn is a 21st Century Patriot whose timely book should be a clarion call to all concerned with children and the future of our schools.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amy L. Salyer on November 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
They ought to call this book "Why Standardized Tests are Dumb - for Dummies" and put it in one of those glaring yellow-and-black covers. Then maybe Alfie Kohn would become the household name he deserves to be! There is no more cogent explanation for the inequities of standrdized testing than that which is presented by Kohn in this slim, easy-to-read, practical, and VITAL volume. Early on Kohn points out that the arguement stating that standardized tests prepare students for the workplace is not only faulty, but riddled with ludicrously laughable "logic". After all, as he says, "How often are we forbidden to ask coworkers for help, or to depend on a larger organization for support...?" And, he goes on, "when someone is going to judge the quality of your work, whether you are a sculptor, a refrigerator repairman, a reporter, or a therapist, how common is it for you to be given a seret paper-and-pencil exam? Isn't it far more likely that the evaluator will look at examples of what you've already done, or perhaps watch you perform your normal tasks?" (p. 6) Kohn states in clear terms the basic inequalities of standardized tests, describes the dangers of "high stakes" testing schemes, links testing to the poor teaching that often infects the classrooms of our poorest children, and offers assessment alternatives that are both sane and authentic. Read this book before spring testing fever hits your school district -valuable for educators, parents, and students; vital for society.
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