FairTest Annotated Bibliography on Testing and Evaluating Young Children


Barr, M.A., and Syverson, M.A.
Assessing Literacy with the Learning Record (Portsmouth, NH, Heinemann, 1999); two handbooks, one grades K-6, the other grades 6-12 ($15 each). And,
Barrs, M. et al. Primary Language Record
(Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1988). One handbook for English primary grades ($20).

    These provide excellent, succinct explanations of how and why children acquire literacy and how to document and assess their literacy behaviors. Integrates instruction and assessment of literacy from a whole language perspective. Developed for use with multilingual school populations. Includes sample recording forms. The Learning Record is based on the Language Record. They include sample recording forms. (Heineman, 361 Hanover St., Portsmouth, NH 03801; $20.00.)

Bredekamp, S., and Copple, C. Eds. Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs. (Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1997).

    Contains discussions of appropriate and inappropriate assessment practices for children through age 8, with many examples. (NAEYC, see below.)

Educational Leadership.
(Vol. 46, #7, April 1989) Special Issue, "Redirecting Assessment."

    Includes 17 articles on developing alternative assessments, providing a wide range of materials useful for understanding alternatives theoretically and in practice. (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; see below) $5.00.)

Educational Leadership,
(Vol. 49, #8, May 1992) "Using Performance Assessment."

    This issue focuses entirely on performance assessment. 19 articles are divided into three sections: "Using Performance Assessment," "Using Portfolios," and "Synthesis of Research." This updates their April 1989 issue (ASCD, see below). $5.00.

FairTest. FairTest Examiner.

    Quarterly newsletter surveys developments in testing and testing reform. Regularly reviews new publications. (FairTest, 15 Court Square, Suite 820, Boston, MA 02108; (617) 864- 4810; $30/yr individuals; $45/yr institutions.) Issues are posted to website at http:\\www.fairtest.org.

FairTest. Standardized Tests and Our Children: A Guide to Testing Reform (Cambridge, MA: FairTest, 1991).

    A 32-page, easy-to-read pamphlet which explains what standardized tests are, how they are used, what's wrong with them, and alternative ways to evaluate students. Also includes sections on parents' rights, testing terms and what you can do. Available in Spanish and English.

. Performance Assessment: Annotated Bibliography and Resources. (1996, 3rd ed.)

FairTest. Selected Annotated Bibliography on Language Minority Assessment. (1995.)

Goodman, K.S. et al. Report Card on Basal Readers (Katonah, NY: Richard C. Owen, 1988).

    Critical analysis of the history and content of basal readers and how they hinder the teaching of reading. Includes discussion of tests included in basals and the relationship between basals and standardized tests. (Richard C. Owen Pubs., 135 Katonah Ave., Katonah, NY 10536; (914) 232-3903.)

Harman, S. "The Tests: Trivial or Toxic?" Teachers Networking: The Whole Language Newsletter (Vol. 9, No. 3, 1989-90).

    Discussion of "standards" and the critique of tests, including commentary on current psychometric theory. (Available from Owen Pubs., see Goodman.)

Heald-Taylor, G. The Administrators Guide to Whole Language (Katonah, NY: Richard C. Owen, 1989).

    Provides thorough advice on careful implementation of whole language, including sections on evaluation and accounting to parents. (Available from Owen Pubs., see Goodman.)

Hein, G.E., ed. The Assessment of Hands-on Elementary Science Programs (Grand Forks, ND: North Dakota Study Group on Evaluation, 1990).

    Eleven chapters discuss assessment theory, large-scale assessments, and classroom assessment with elementary schoolchildren. Contains many examples and details. (Box 8158, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202; $12 plus 15% handling.)

High Scope Educational Research Foundation. Child Observation Record. (Ypsilanti, MI: Author. 1992.)

    Manual and forms for developmentally appropriate, ongoing observation and assessment of children 2-1/2 through 6 years of age. Provides examples of behaviors that can be recorded in each of six categories; describes various forms of performance assessment. (High Scope, see below.)

Kamii, C.
, ed. Achievement Testing in the Early Grades: The Games Adults Play (Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1990).

    This book summarizes the problems caused by reliance on multiple-choice achievement testing, has chapters on specific problems for systems, principals, teachers and others, and examines the problems testing causes for teaching literacy and math. Appropriate assessment in math and literacy is also presented. (NAEYC, see below; $8.00.)

Medina, N. and Neill, D.M. Fallout from the Testing Explosion: How 100 Million Standardized Exams Undermine Equity and Excellence in America's Public Schools (Cambridge: FairTest, 1990, 3rd. ed.).

    Includes survey on extent of test use, analysis of problems with test construction, reliability, validity, administration and bias, and the harmful impact of testing on educational goals and curriculum, student progress and local control of schools. A comprehensive introduction to the problem. Contains extensive annotated bibliography.

Meisels, S.J. "Uses and Abuses of Developmental Screening and School Readiness Testing." Young Children (Jan. 1987) pp. 4-6, 68-73.

    Looks at different tests and their limitations, urges caution in their use. Specifically examines the Gesell instruments. The issue contains a response from Gesell and a rebuttal by Meisels. A major source for the NAEYC position. (NAEYC, see below.)

Meisels, S. J. The Work Sampling System. (Ann Arbor: Rebus Planning Associates, 1992). (1103 S. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48104; 1-800-435-3085).

    Provides performance assessment methods for evaluating young children from age 3 through grade 3, utilizing developmental checklists, portfolios and summary reports. All parts are classroom-focused. Now used in hundreds of schools.

National Association for the Education of Young Children. "NAEYC Position Statement on Standardized Testing of Young Children 3 Through 8 Years of Age" Young Children (March 1988) pp. 42-47.

    Reviews appropriate and inappropriate test use. Urges caution in the use of tests.

National Association for the Education of Young Children. "NAEYC Position Statement on Developmentally Appropriate Practice in the Primary Grades, Serving Children 5- Through 8- Year Olds" Young Children (Jan. 1988) pp. 64-84.

    Includes section on testing and has a comprehensive bibliography.

NAEYC & National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education.
"Guidelines for Appropriate Curriculum Content and Assessment Programs Serving Children Ages 3 Through 8" Young Children (March, 1991).

    Excellent set of guidelines for teachers and administrators for developmentally appropriate curricula and assessments for all children 3-8, including those in special education programs.

National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). Right from the Start: the Report of the NASBE Task Force on Early Childhood Education (Alexandria, VA: NASBE, 1988).

    In this set of general guidelines are recommendations calling for improved, developmentally appropriate assessment methods. They support the NAEYC guidelines (see above) and outline elements of appropriate assessment.

Neill, M., Bursh, P., Schaeffer, B., Thall, C., Yohe, M., & Zappardino, P.
(1995). Implementing Performance Assessment: A Guide to Classroom, School and System Reform. Cambridge, MA: FairTest.

    FairTest guide, written for teachers, administrators and parents. Comprehensive, systematic look at performance assessments, from classroom to system-wide uses. Describes observations, interviews, work samples, projects, performances, exhibitions, exams, portfolios and learning records. Discusses equity, communication with parents, getting started, use of assessment information in evaluating students, establishing validity, conducting school-level evaluation, and using assessment for accountability. Final chapter is on organizing for change. Includes a lengthy bibliography and list of resources.

Perrone, V., ed. Expanding Student Assessment. (Alexandria, VA, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1991).

    Chapters written by educators provide alternative views for assessing elementary and secondary students' performance other than multiple-choice standardized tests. Describes authentic assessments in writing, science and other areas.

Phi Delta Kappan. (Special Section) "Testing" (May 1989) pp. 683-723.

    Provides a comprehensive look at the problems of standardized testing and a good introduction to authentic, performance-based assessment, including cautions on the proper use of any assessments. Authors include Madaus & Haney, Neill & Medina, Bracey, Wiggins, Rogers, and Raizen & Kaser. (PDK, P.O. Box 789, Bloomington, IN 47402.)

Shepard, L.A. and Smith, M.L., eds. Flunking Grades (Philadelphia: Falmer, 1989).

    Chapters 4 and 5 explore the harm of retaining young children in grade or placing them in 'transitional programs,' often done using test results. See also by the same authors, "Flunking Kindergarten," American Educator (Summer 1988) pp. 34-38, and "What Doesn't Work: Explaining Policies of Retention in the Early Grades," Phi Delta Kappan (October 1987).

Southern Early Childhood Association (SECA: formerly Southern Association on Children Under Six.) Developmentally Appropriate Assessment. (Little Rock: SACUS, 1990).

    SECA/SACUS has called for "a ban on the routine, mass use standardized intelligence, achievement, readiness and developmental screening tests for young children." This brochure summarizes the reasons not to use these tests and explains what developmentally appropriate assessment procedures are. (Available from SECA, P.O. Box 5403, Brady Stn., Little Rock, AR 72215.)

SECA/SACUS. The Portfolio and Its Use: Developmentally Appropriate Assessment of Young Children. (Little Rock, 1991).

    Provides an excellent, detailed look at how and why to organize young children's assessment around the portfolio. Sections include using the portfolio in evaluating children and in communicating with parents. (See SECA, above).

Valdez Pierce, L. & O'Malley, J.M. Performance and Portfolio Assessment for Language Minority Students (National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, #9, Spring 1992).

    Provides definitions and summary of alternative assessment and two of its varieties, performance assessment and portfolio assessment. Details each in terms of purpose, types, design, administration, and scoring with emphasis on use with language minority students. Lists common concerns of portfolio assessment and provides remedies for these concerns.


Price, S. and G.E. Hein. A Handbook of Alternative Assessment Methods for Teachers Washington, D.C.: National Science Resource Center, in press

Raizen, S.A., et al., Assessment in Elementary School Education (Washington, D.C.,: National Center for Improving Science Education, 1989).

Shepard, L.A. (1994). The challenges of assessing young children appropriately. Phi Delta Kappan, (76)3, 206-212.

Shepard, L.A. & Graue, M.E. (1993). The morass of school readiness screening: Research on test use and test validity," in B. Spodek, ed., Handbook of reaserch on the education of young children (New York: Macmillan), pp. 293-305.

Shepard, L.A., S.L. Kagan, E. Wurtz, eds. Principles and Recommendations for Early Childhood Assessments, submitted to the National Education Goals Panel (Feb. 1998), published by the NEGP <negp@goalline.org> [see bibliography in this for yet more references).

Southern Regional Education Board (1994). Getting Schools Ready for Children: The Other Side of the Readiness Goal. Atlanta, GA.


Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1703 N. Beauregard St. Alexander, VA 22311; (703) 578-9600; www.ascd.org. Publishes Educational Leadership.
High Scope Educational Research Foundation, 600 N. River St., Ypsilanti, MI 48198; (313) 485-2000; www.highscope.org.
International Reading Association, 800 Barksdale Rd., P.O. Box 8139, Newark, Delaware, 19714; (302) 731-1600. www.reading.org.
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), 1834 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20009-5786; (800)424-2460. www.naeyc.org. Publishes Young Children.
National Association of Elementary School Principals, 1615 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314; (703) 684-3345; www.naesp.org.
National Council of Teachers of English, 1111 W. Kenyon Rd., Urbana, IL 61801; (217) 328-3870; www.ncte.org.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1906 Association Dr., Reston, VA 22091; (703) 620-9840. www.nctm.org.
Southern Early Childhood Association (SECA), P.O. Box 55930, Little Rock, AR 72215; (501) 663-0353; www.seca50.org.

Revised April 1999. Prices may have changed. Be sure to see the FairTest Examiner and FairTest's website at http://www.fairtest.org for new information.