Worth Reading

K-12 Testing

Failing Our Kids: Why the Testing Craze Won’t Fix Our Schools, is a reader consisting primarily of articles previously printed in Rethinking Schools. The short pieces are grouped in sections, including “Parents and Students Talk Back,” “Views from the Classroom,” “Standards, Testing, and Race,” and “Alternatives.” This book is a strong introduction to many aspects of the testing issue and should be of use to parents, students and educators. It includes several pieces from FairTest. Rethinking Schools, 1001 E. Keefe Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53212; 800/669-4192; www.rethinkingschools.org; $8.


The Role of Assessment in a Learning Culture: Lorrie Shepard, outgoing president of the American Educational Research Association, delivered this powerful and lucid speech at the spring 2000 AERA conference. She presents a history of the mainstream approaches to learning and testing, contrasts it with a more progressive “social-constructivist” framework, and then discusses how assessment practices should change to be consistent with the social-constructivist approach. This talk is as clear a summary of these complex ideas as can be found, and the evidence Dr. Shepard marshals provides valuable assistance for opposing the use of standardized tests to control curriculum and instruction or to make major decisions. On the web at www.aera.net and in Educational Researcher, October 2000.