Volume 13, No.3

Spring 1999

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  • Why the Testing Craze Won’t Fix Our Schools

    Editorial More and more schools are relying on standardized testing and “high-stakes” tests. But these tests are poor tools for achieving the high standards that testing advocates claim as their goal. A look at why testing alone isn’t enough to improve education.

  • Alternatives to Standardized Tests

    Why it’s wrong to reduce assessment and accountability to a student’s performance on a single test, and what schools can and should do instead.

  • Social Studies Tests from Hell

    By Bill Bigelow

    Oregon’s latest high-stakes social studies test is mired in the assumption that learning is nothing more than fact-collecting. (This article originally appeared in The Oregonian, Portland’s daily newspaper.)

  • Testing Against Democracy

    By Bill Bigelow

    How Bill Bigelow’s article “Tests from Hell” touched off criticism and threats from Oregon education officials, and a wave of grassroots support.

  • Appropriate Use of Tests

    Basic principles of good testing, according to the National Research Council.

  • Hallmarks of Good Assessment

    Guiding ideas behind sound alternatives to high-stakes, standardized tests.

  • Standards and the Control of Knowledge

    How state-mandated education standards affect efforts to develop multicultural curriculum, and how parents and educators can make sense of the increasing reliance on standards.

  • The Forgotten History of Eugenics

    High-stakes testing has its roots in this dark chapter of our history, and the racist assumptions at its core.

  • Chicago Teacher Paper Under Fire

    The newspaper “Substance” faces a $1 million lawsuit for publishing test materials.

  • Limitations of the ITBS

    Some of the commonly cited flaws with two popular student assessments, the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills and the Tests of Achievement and Proficiency

  • Welcome to Measurement Inc.

    You thought teachers were evaluating student writing? Think again. A visit to the renovated North Carolina factory where part-time workers grade student essays shipped in from more than two dozen states.

  • Reclaiming Assessment

    Instead of shipping off essays to be graded elsewhere, teachers in Portland are scoring student work, and using the task as a basis for discussions about good writing and good teaching.

  • Dancin’ Circles

    Take heart: Even the most rigid state testing plans can never hope to control what every child does, or thinks, or writes.

  • The Straitjacket of Standardized Tests

    A teacher wonders: Where is the standardized test that measures passion for learning, respect for others, and human empathy?

  • Monkeys, Pouches, and Reading

    What happens to children, and how teaching is distorted, when reading success is determined on the basis of a single test.

  • “High-Stakes” Harm”

    How can teachers be critical of “high stakes” tests, yet prepare their students to take them?

  • How Many Must Die?

    Since U.S. Sanctions against Iraq began, a million people — three quarters of them under 6 years old — have died for want of food and medicine. A look at one of the most underreported stories of our time.

  • Prominent Voices on Iraq

    How some noteworthy observers feel about US policy toward Iraq.

  • U.S. Sanctions on Iraq

    Where to turn for more information on Iraq. Includes several excellent Web sites.

  • The Influential E.D. Hirsch

    A look at the assumptions behind Hirsch’s prescription for reform, and some thoughts on whether his proposals will get us where we need to go.

  • Drive-By School Reform

    How hit-and-run approaches to reform can turn schools into passive targets of intervention, rather than active partners in change.

  • Ed-Web: Africa-Descended Culture on the Web

    A goldmine of resources about the history, literature, and culture of people of African descent