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Three Great Reads on High-Stakes Standardized Tests

CJW, October 3, 2010 9:36 AM

standardized testing2.jpg

Three highly recommended reads on this subject are:


51+GsWVm43L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg2)   The book, "Measuring Up - What Educational Testing Really Tells Us" by Daniel Koretz, Professor of Education at Harvard University.  Written for a layperson to understand, every parent and educator should read this book, winner of the outstanding book award, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.  An excerpt:

"Achievement testing is a very complex enterprise, and as a result, test scores are widely misunderstood and misused.  And precisely because of the importance given to test scores in our society, those mistakes can have serious consequences.  The goal of this book is to help readers understand the complexities inherent in testing, avoid the common mistakes, and be able to interpret test scores reasonably and use test productively."

51fGxdFB-9L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg3)   The controversial and sobering must-read is "Making the Grades:  My Misadventures In the Standardized Testing Industry".    Alexander Russo at Scholastic also has a terrific interview with its author, Todd Farley.  

From a Washington Post review:

Farley spent almost 15 years working in the standardized testing industry for grades K-12, starting as an entry-level scorer and eventually becoming a test writer and scoring trainer who lived high on his expense account. His experiences led him to conclude that these tests are "less a precise tool to assess students' exact abilities than just a lucrative means to make indefinite and indistinct generalizations about them." Throughout his career, grade manipulation was the norm. He and his colleagues would change scores or toss some out in order to achieve "reliability," a measure of how frequently different readers scored a question the same way. Among scorers, he writes, "the questions were never about what a student response might have deserved; the questions were only about what score to give to ensure statistical agreement."

For related stories from The Daily Riff:
Stephen Colbert in The Colbert Report:  "How To Ace The SAT's"
Famous Failures Who "Didn't Make The Grade"
The Underground Guide:  Outsmarting the SAT's

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