Must-reading for Assessment Reformers

General Testing

In recent years, many fine studies have been published analyzing most facets of the standardized testing craze and offering alternatives that more fairly promote educational quality. Each issue of the Examiner reviews several in the “Worth Reading” section.


But no full-length book has examined the broad scope and consequences of the nation’s testing fixation. Now that gap has been filled with the publication of Standardized Minds: The High Price of America’s Testing Culture and What We Can Do to Change It, by Peter Sacks. The book is both a riveting polemic for assessment reform and a carefully sourced handbook for reformers.


Whether the issue is public school graduation tests, college and graduate school admissions exams or pre-employment assessments, Sacks provides both succinct facts and lively anecdotes advocates need to counter high-stake testing's proponents. In the words of reviewer Walt Haney at Boston College’s Center for the Study of Testing: “Peter Sacks exposes the test mania sweeping education in the US for what it is — a sham and delusion. Sacks shows how test-based accountability punishes the poor, corrupts education, and really benefits only test manufacturers, politicians and the socially elite.”


Reading Standardized Minds is the perfect prescription to help the nation kick its addiction to standardized tests that undermine both equity and excellence. It should be read — and used — by every assessment reform advocate.


For a sample, look at the FairTest internet home page,, where the first chapter is posted with the permission of Sacks and his publisher.


Perseus Books, $26.00 in U.S., $39.50 in Canada