- Paperback: 234 pages
- Publisher: Harvard Education Press; 51132nd edition (March 4, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1891792350
- ISBN-13: 978-1891792359
- Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #586,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Collateral Damage: How High-Stakes Testing Corrupts America's Schools 51132nd Edition
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"Collateral Damage delivers a healthy dose of hard truth. It should be required reading for policymakers and concerned citizens." --Jeannie Oakes, Presidential Professor and Director, UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access (IDEA)
"The cumulative impact of the accounts Nichols and Berliner lay out before us is staggering. They punch it home: The moral impact of NCLB may be as dangerous as its educational effects." --Deborah Meier, Senior Scholar, New York University
"This savage assault on high-stakes testing in education arrives with a clear concern about those most harmed by high-stakes tests students and teachers. Nichols and Berliner provide a carefully reasoned analysis laced with frightening accounts drawn from public schools. Not merely another pummeling of No Child Left Behind, this is a readable evisceration of the premise that our schools can be evaluated with a single indicator. If you care about public schooling, this is required reading." --W. James Popham, Professor Emeritus, UCLA
From the Back Cover
Nichols and Berliner show how the pressures of high-stakes testing erode the validity of test scores and distort the integrity of the education system. Their analysis provides a comprehensive intellectual framework for arguments against high-stakes testing, while putting a compelling human face on the data marshaled in support of those arguments.
“Nichols and Berliner provide a hard-hitting and thoughtful critique of today’s overreliance on high-stakes testing. This is a must-read for anyone concerned about the unintended consequences of education reform.” — Paul D. Houston, Executive Director, American Association of School Administrators
“The cumulative impact of the accounts Nichols and Berliner lay out before us is staggering. They punch it home: The moral impact of NCLB may be as dangerous as its educational effects.” — Deborah Meier, Senior Scholar, New York University
“Collateral Damage delivers a healthy dose of hard truth. It should be required reading for policymakers and concerned citizens.” — Jeannie Oakes, Presidential Professor and Director, UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access
“Nichols and Berliner provide a carefully reasoned analysis laced with frightening accounts drawn from public schools. This readable volume eviscerates the premise that our schools can be evaluated with a single indicator. If you care about public schooling, this book is essential.” — W. James Popham, Professor Emeritus, UCLA
Top customer reviews
A great deal of their analysis rests on applying Campbell's Law to the arena of high stakes test. Campbell's Law states that any time a sociological measure is attached to high stakes consequences, the efforts of people to avoid the high stakes consequences will corrupt the effectiveness of the indicator. Anyone familiar with NCLB will have heard complaints about how the law drives educators to teach to the test; this work goes into far greater detail and systematically analyzes how high-stakes tests are not merely stressful, they invalidate what they are trying to measure. There are many powerful stories in this books of diplomas denied, educators demoralized, and children injured by high-stakes tests. Anyone who has been hurt by NCLB will gather food from this work.
Unfortunately, this book will not sway the politicians who are committed to NCLB very much. Opponents will attempt to muster their own stories of how schools were motivated to get their act together when they had to fear the consequences of the law. At times, Berliner and Nichols accuse their opponents of more sinister motives and do not give them too many olive branches that might lead present supporters of the NCLB and the progressive opposition to break bread and agree that they all want to help children. Partisan politics is the order of the day I suppose, and I feel that truly great books of politics work to transcend those partisan politics and build foundations for effective collaboration.
Still, I found this book a helpful statement of opposition to NCLB that crystallizes many of the frustrations I've encountered when I've tutored SAT. You see families pouring money into the exams and educators manipulating data and you know that you're measuring how well people play the game as well as how much they know of the tested content.
This is a passionate book that will be helpful for educators frustrated by NCLB looking for energy and motivation to organize and strengthen their analysis of the failings of the law.
Despite the depressing content, the authors write in a highly accessible and entertaining style, and even manage to interject a bit of humor to lighten the heavy burden which comes when one comtemplates the implications of their findings.
It is a must read for all educators, parents, and policy makers. Indeed, I hope the latter will read this book and make changes the authors suggest for a more reasonable acountability system.
Nichols and Berliner describe an environment where schools have taken the power out of the teacher's hands to determine what should be taught. Instead, state standardized testing with high stakes (which is to say funding, employment status for teachers, graduation status for students, and school operability are at stake if certain benchmarks are not met) create an impetus for school administrators to narrow the curriculum to focus the school's energy on that which is being tested. Because there are such high stakes attached almost exclusively to the test results of the students, the authors argue that Campbell's law comes into play: "The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor."
Their body of evidence includes news articles from across the country detailing a number of examples of such corruption, as well as interviews with educators who have witnessed the educational environment change firsthand. The examples can become repetitive, but that may be reason enough to be concerned about the unintended consequences of high-stakes accountability in education.
Perhaps most importantly, the authors do not suggest that accountability should be removed from the classroom. Instead, they insist that a more holistic approach should be taken with lower stakes applied to just test scores. It is an accessible read and very timely as this bill faces renewal. Recommended for parents and educators alike.