Worth Reading

K-12 Testing

The Spring 1999 issue of Rethinking Schools focuses on "why the testing craze won't fix our schools." The issue contains a wide range of very readable articles covering the harmful impact of tests on schools and students, standards, the roots of testing, and alternatives (with a piece co- authored by FairTest's Monty Neill). The Spring issue is available for $3.50, plus $3.50 S&H, or subscribe for $12.50 for one year (four issues) or $20 for two years and ask to start with the Spring issue. RS, 1001 E. Keefe Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53212; or call 1-800-669-4192 to use Visa or MC. And see www.rethinkingschools.org.


Children at the Center: A Workshop Approach to Standardized Test Preparation, K-8, by Kathe Taylor and Sherry Walton, seeks to help teachers and students survive tests without sacrificing high-quality curriculum and instruction. Much of the advice will be very useful to teachers facing high-stakes tests, and the workshop structure makes the material accessible. The book, however, tends to treat tests as more benign than they often are, thereby potentially undermining necessary opposition. In both strengths and weaknesses, it is similar to A Teacher's Guide to Standardized Reading Tests . From Heinemann, 361 Hanover St., Portsmouth, NH 03301; $17.00.


Grant Wiggins' Educative Assessment "adds to classroom assessment literature a sound, readable, and passionate argument for designing assessments that both inform and improve student learning and assessment," according to Susan Brookhart, who reviewed the book for the electronic journal Education Review. The book is also "in part a `how-to' presentation of performance assessment methods, and in part suggestions for systemic reforms that would support this kind of assessment better than current education systems do." Educative Assessment is available from Jossey-Bass, 350 Sansome St., San Francisco, CA 94104; 360 large pages, $34.95. Many materials are available on the website www.josseybass.com.