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

18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0325003252 ISBN-10: 0325003254

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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 13 books on education and human behavior, including The Schools Our Children Deserve, The Case Against Standardized Testing, and The Homework Myth. 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.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 12
  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann (January 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0325003254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0325003252
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #425,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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 Salyer Barton 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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "danielgonzalez3" on August 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
With an ever increasing political pressure on student achievement in K-12 schools there is a concurrent and also expanding controversy on issues of assessment of student performance. At the core of many of these controversies is the use of standardized tests to compare individual student performance as well as a comparison among schools and school districts on a national level. Alfie Kohn's recently published book, The Case Against Standardized Testing presents a compelling case against the use of these tests as well as providing constructive suggestions for more meaningful processes for learning. The book is divided into 6 chapters. In Chapter one there is a discussion on the testing process in schools. Kohn provides numerous examples to substantiate his concern that the tests are politically driven, inappropriate as measures of learning substantive skills, and counterproductive. Chapter 2 describes negative characteristics of the most common tests currently being administered. Chapter 3 includes a summary of problems resulting from the tests, both for teachers and students. Chapter 4 provides a discussion on 5 compelling reasons to substantiate Kohn's concerns that standardized tests are especially ineffective and counter-productive for those students most in need of educational assistance - those from low income families. Chapter 5 deals with alternatives to standardized tests. Chapter 6 provides specific suggestions and advice on methods for changing the political pressures and requirements for standardized tests. In summary, Kohn has provided the American public with the basis for a spirited discussion on the issues involved in standardized testing. His alternative suggestions for assessing students are constructive and can serve as the basis for efforts to improve the present controversial situation.
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