website statistics The Test: Why Our Schools are Obsessed with Standardized Testing — But You Don't Have to Be - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

The Test: Why Our Schools are Obsessed with Standardized Testing — But You Don't Have to Be

Availability: Ready to download

Standardized assessments test our children, our teachers, our schools—and increasingly, our patience. Your child is more than a score. But in the last twenty years, schools have dramatically increased standardized testing, sacrificing hours of classroom time. What is the cost to students, teachers, and families? How do we preserve space for self-directed learning and develo Standardized assessments test our children, our teachers, our schools—and increasingly, our patience. Your child is more than a score. But in the last twenty years, schools have dramatically increased standardized testing, sacrificing hours of classroom time. What is the cost to students, teachers, and families? How do we preserve space for self-directed learning and development—especially when we still want all children to hit the mark? The Test explores all sides of this problem—where these tests came from, their limitations and flaws, and ultimately what parents, teachers, and concerned citizens can do. It recounts the shocking history and tempestuous politics of testing and borrows strategies from fields as diverse as games, neuroscience, and ancient philosophy to help children cope. It presents the stories of families, teachers, and schools maneuvering within and beyond the existing educational system, playing and winning the testing game. And it offers a glimpse into a future of better tests. With an expert’s depth, a writer’s flair, and a hacker’s creativity, Anya Kamenetz has written an essential book for any parent who has wondered: what do I do about all these tests?


Compare

Standardized assessments test our children, our teachers, our schools—and increasingly, our patience. Your child is more than a score. But in the last twenty years, schools have dramatically increased standardized testing, sacrificing hours of classroom time. What is the cost to students, teachers, and families? How do we preserve space for self-directed learning and develo Standardized assessments test our children, our teachers, our schools—and increasingly, our patience. Your child is more than a score. But in the last twenty years, schools have dramatically increased standardized testing, sacrificing hours of classroom time. What is the cost to students, teachers, and families? How do we preserve space for self-directed learning and development—especially when we still want all children to hit the mark? The Test explores all sides of this problem—where these tests came from, their limitations and flaws, and ultimately what parents, teachers, and concerned citizens can do. It recounts the shocking history and tempestuous politics of testing and borrows strategies from fields as diverse as games, neuroscience, and ancient philosophy to help children cope. It presents the stories of families, teachers, and schools maneuvering within and beyond the existing educational system, playing and winning the testing game. And it offers a glimpse into a future of better tests. With an expert’s depth, a writer’s flair, and a hacker’s creativity, Anya Kamenetz has written an essential book for any parent who has wondered: what do I do about all these tests?

30 review for The Test: Why Our Schools are Obsessed with Standardized Testing — But You Don't Have to Be

  1. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    Although Anya Kamenetz divides her analysis of standardized testing into four sections, the book should more appropriately be divided into four. The first section provides ten unoriginal arguments against standardized testing. The next section describes the history of standardized testing and explains how standardized testing has become the norm in American education. The third section describes four different ways to reconnect testing with education and provides several ways to seamlessly inco Although Anya Kamenetz divides her analysis of standardized testing into four sections, the book should more appropriately be divided into four. The first section provides ten unoriginal arguments against standardized testing. The next section describes the history of standardized testing and explains how standardized testing has become the norm in American education. The third section describes four different ways to reconnect testing with education and provides several ways to seamlessly incorporate standardized testing into the learning process. The last section of the book offers advice to parents to help their children manage the stressfulness of standardized tests. Each section of the book seems to target a different audience. The first section echoes the complaints of standardized testing opponents but does little to further the movement against standardized testing. The next two sections seem to address educational reformers and provide excellent insights and suggestions at how to reincorporate meaningful tests into the learning process. The last section is clearly meant for parents in that it provides advice at how to emotionally and mentally prepare children for a standardized test. In general, the book seems well researched and does help move the debate forward on the pros and cons of standardized testing if read with an open mind. I received this book as part of the GoodReads First Read program. This does not influence my review at all.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ope Bukola

    This is an important book for parents, teachers, and anyone involved in the business of education to read. Kamenetz offers useful prescriptions for dealing with the test mania that has gripped our country in the wake of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. In three parts, the book explains how we got where we are, alternate modes for assessing students, and how parents can themselves take control of the system. My biggest hope is that this will drive a real questioning of testing in schools This is an important book for parents, teachers, and anyone involved in the business of education to read. Kamenetz offers useful prescriptions for dealing with the test mania that has gripped our country in the wake of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. In three parts, the book explains how we got where we are, alternate modes for assessing students, and how parents can themselves take control of the system. My biggest hope is that this will drive a real questioning of testing in schools, not by eduwonks, policy people and others with business or political interest in testing. My hope is that it will strike up a conversation among a group of people who we know are truly on the side of the students: their parents.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    This book is a timely follow up to Diane Ravich's Reign of Error. I must admit I was somewhat impressed by the journalism quality that presented itself in this book. I would recommend this book as a must read for anyone that is concerned about the "Standardized Testing" movement that US educational institutions have been mired in for the last 10 years. If you have fallen into the trap of thinking that the idea of testing is a good thing and has a valid rationale, I would challenge you to take a This book is a timely follow up to Diane Ravich's Reign of Error. I must admit I was somewhat impressed by the journalism quality that presented itself in this book. I would recommend this book as a must read for anyone that is concerned about the "Standardized Testing" movement that US educational institutions have been mired in for the last 10 years. If you have fallen into the trap of thinking that the idea of testing is a good thing and has a valid rationale, I would challenge you to take a look at "The Test"! There is hope that journalistic endeavors such as this will start to swing the pendulum in education the other way, and that we can change the field of education organically instead of with corporate might.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Katharine Rudzitis

    This is an overview of testing in the US with suggestions to change our dependency of standardized assessments, but there are plenty of impractical suggestions and a total lack of understanding about the Common Core standards.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Good points. The current testing regime seriously freaks me out as the father of a boy who will enter kindergarten next year. I hope that Kamenetz is correct in suggesting that the wave has broken.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jonna Higgins-Freese

    Favorite bits: Debunking A Nation at Risk re: alleged declining achievement of US students: "A follow-up analysis of historical test score data commissioned by the Department of Energy in 1990 showed the opposite of what _A Nation at Risk_ claimed: When broken down by population subgroup, 'to our surprise, on nearly every measure, we found steady or slightly improving trends,' wrote the authors of the Sandia Report, who weren't educators or partisans with an ideological stake but rather engineers Favorite bits: Debunking A Nation at Risk re: alleged declining achievement of US students: "A follow-up analysis of historical test score data commissioned by the Department of Energy in 1990 showed the opposite of what _A Nation at Risk_ claimed: When broken down by population subgroup, 'to our surprise, on nearly every measure, we found steady or slightly improving trends,' wrote the authors of the Sandia Report, who weren't educators or partisans with an ideological stake but rather engineers taking an objective look at the data for economic planning purposes" Downward SAT trend at this time caused by Simpson's paradox -- mix of students taking the test changing such that more low-income students took test. (74) Limiting testing to a one-time high stakes test can spur deeper learning (students are motivated, teachers focus on long-term learning vs. short term cramming). Infrequent tests can also be expensive and high quality, testing long constructed response, "complex, multistep math problems, and essays that require research and referral to documents" (78). The highest performing countries use "exams alongside real student work, like research projects, science experiments, and presentations" (78). Yet the high stakes tests can also spur anxiety and promote cheating. "as late as October 2011 just three companies -- Harcourt, CTB/McGraw-Hill, and Riverside Publishing -- still wrote 96 percent of the statewide tests, while Pearson, one of the largest publishers in the world, was a leading scorer" (81). Summary of debunking of Texas miracle: role of Julian Vasquez Heilig and Walt Haney, senior research associate in Boston College's Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation, and Educational Policy. Found that achievement had not improved, test score gaps had not decreased, and the dropout rate had not decreased as claimed (87-88). June 2009 Broader, Bolder Approach to Education manifesto proposed broad social supports for children and investments to alleviate poverty and health problems that are associated with poor school performance; another group issued manifesto calling for redoubling of testing. Arne Duncan signed both and implemented Race to the Top (91). Tests often misused -- FCAT designed to measure skills of a population but now used to determine whether an individual student should move to next grade (102). "According to the 2014 edition of a 'National Report Card' on school-funding fairness, only fourteen states in 2011 even attempted progressive funding, giving more money to high-poverty districts than to more affluent districts to address the greater needs of high-poverty districts' students. In every other state either the funding is flat across districts or rich districts get more" (106). Khan Academy -- gamification -- earn badges -- example of students gaining 2 1/2-3 1/2 grade levels of math skill in 12 weeks, teacher used the time saved to "introduce more demos and experiments that brought math concepts to life" (143). Knewton -- learning analytics (140), Venture Capital in Education Summit at Stanford University, other adaptive learning software: Dreambox, Scholastic, Khan Academy, Cengage Learning, Cerego; Carnegie Mellon offers free/open licensed adaptive college courses for French, bio, stats, logic, more. "Knewton allows for much more gentle, passive data collection via ongoing formative assessment in homework/classwork." (head of Knewton) (142). "Kimberly O'Malley, senior vice president of school research at Pearson Education, research group formed 2012 to get academics in the fields of learning, assessment, and educational technology working more closely together. "Invisible, integrated assessment, to me, is the future. We can monitor students' learning day to day in a digital scenario. Ultimately, if we're successful, the need for and the activity of stopping and testing will go away in many cases" (145). "The big test companies agree: software -- of their design and manufacture, of course -- could replace standardized tests very soon (145). Wild ideas: Atentiv brain training software NYC Public Schools: "DoE created a series of programs that push college-level instruction adn expectations into high schools" (182) Pathways in Technology EArly College High School -- 6 years high school partnership with IBM to earn associates degrees for free ASAP, CUNY Start Guttman Community College KIPP refocusing on long-term student outcomes after 2011 report indicated 30% graduation rates (compared to 8% for comparable cohort) but less than they expected; focusing more on "equipping them with better social and emotional skills, so they will be able to learn and succeed away from the highly structured environment" (183). Adaptiv technology: Dreambox, Scholastic, Cengage Learning, Cerego: adaptive technology that logs data on individual learning Private schools don't help: Studies of NAEP and PISA results show no differences in outcomes b/t public and private schools after you control for student SES (193). NACAC study shoes coaching produced about a 2 percent improvement in scores on the SAT and about a 3 percent improvement on the ACT (194) [although at one point she talks extensively about a test prep teacher in Florida who gets students huge gains on standardized tests by getting them to think like the designers -- so which is it? Bob Alexander, wrote Demystifying the ACT (197)] Envision Schools -- developed standards with Linda Darling-Hammond, core academic knowledge plus deeper competencies like critical thinking (183). portfolios in 10th and 12th grade, graduating seniors do dissertation style defense. high percentages of students enroll in college and 90% persist beyond first year (184). Julian Vasquez Heilig, community based accountability "educational leaders come together with parents and community members to set short- and long-term goals, to be measured with multiple indicators" (184). "'If your school is only focused on getting a passing grade on a test, that influences teaching to the test and nudging low performers out of school. If schools are focused on the fact that they don't want 5 percent of their kids going to jail anymore, that changes how you do school,' Heilig says. Community-based accountability should not be used as an excuse for lowering expectations of any student. It's a means of trying to blunt the force of Goodhart's law by choosing more suitable targets for schools and communities to try to live up to" (185). Gives several examples of performance assessment, including school in Kentucky where students conduct science experiments and present & explain to community (165). communicate belief that intelligence can improve over time help them generalize -- make predictions at park, ask if they'll have enough money for ice cream left over if have $5 to spend at McDonald's (200-201). Help kids improve creativity -- Sternberg's Rainbow Project -- come up with new captions for a cartoon take turns telling a story given a certain opening sentence. ask to come up with three new ways to solve a math problem instead of rushing to right answer. How would they do with clay or string instead of P&P? How could they do in their heads? Visitacion Valley Middle School used daily 15 minute meditation, suspensions fell 45%, daily attendance 98% GPA improved, students getting into elite schools. Quiet Time. Visitacion had highest happiness levels in state on California Healthy Kids Survey, twice as many students proficient in English , bigger gap in math compared to non-quiet time schools (203). Amy Saltzman, physician and mindfulness coach w/ kids in Bay Area (203) Make runs a free online summer camp for kids to connect, try new projects, and share what they've learned. Non-cog: Self-authoring Brightworks: kids work with 'real tools, real teachers known as 'collaborators,' responding to 'provocations,' following creative 'arcs,' building multipdisciplinary projects to explore topics like the wind and the sea" (215) -- example -- building a chair and needing to iterate so it's steady. researcher who found that upper middle class kids "statisitically more at risk than the norm" for various problems due to stress. Ask: what interested you today? versus: how did you do on the test? "Selective colleges are far more selective than they were a generation ago and are about twenty times more expensive, and our kids are competing with the top students from around the world, both to get in and after they get out. If the way to success is a ladder, then America's is getting narrower at the to, and families are hanging on for dear life, whipping around up there in the stiff winds of social change" (215). Marshmallow test: nurture versus nature: http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.ph...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andromeda

    For the most part, I found this book a helpful examination of how we got here and how we might move forward. Kamenetz is an experienced education reporter not afraid of technical concepts and yet skilled at translating her subject to a broader audience. For me, the best chapters were the chapters on "The History of Tests," "The Four Teams" (about major competing alternative visions for approaching education), and "Measuring What Matters" (about new ways of assessing student learning and school p For the most part, I found this book a helpful examination of how we got here and how we might move forward. Kamenetz is an experienced education reporter not afraid of technical concepts and yet skilled at translating her subject to a broader audience. For me, the best chapters were the chapters on "The History of Tests," "The Four Teams" (about major competing alternative visions for approaching education), and "Measuring What Matters" (about new ways of assessing student learning and school performance). The other chapters were not bad, but they were less newsworthy, and in a few places, less rigorously researched. I found myself taking notes on these three chapters, and if you were going to only read parts of the book, these are the parts I would recommend. At the very least, don't skip the chapter on "The History of Tests." As someone who has studied psychometrics, I can attest that she got this complicated and deeply troubling history correct. And although other reviewers have dismissed some of this portion as too technical, the history is important. Educational testing and ideas about IQ emerged from beliefs about eugenics that are impossible to divorce from some of the assumptions people still have about what tests mean. If you still believe that IQ is genetically determined, unitary, and fixed, you shouldn't. But these ideas are still baked into many of the ways we talk about and use standardized tests. Directly naming and addressing these assumptions is critical to understanding the book's broader arguments. Moving into the present, she is at her strongest when discussing major movements in education that might offer alternatives -- as she does in "The Four Teams" and "Measuring What Matters." This draws on her well of experience as an education reporter who has previously done quite a bit of work in these areas. It's also critical information, for those who have spent years within the standardized testing regime and struggle to imagine what we would do if we stopped all the testing. It's also exciting and energizing to hear about those who are actively pursuing alternate visions for teaching and learning and assessment. In addition to those 3 critical chapters, I do think the final chapter, "Playing and Winning the Testing Game," could be *very* useful for a certain type of anxious parent. For people who dislike standardized tests enough to read this book, I doubt that any of these ideas will seem too new -- about the importance of social-emotional wellness for children, or creatively enriching their lives through out-of-school engagement, or giving kids a bit more free-range room to explore and define their own interests. But it might be comforting to be reassured once again that de-emphasizing academic achievement may be the best thing you can do for your child in the long run. In particular, the "Manage Your Tone" section points the fingers at parents themselves for cranking up the anxiety, competitiveness, or status-seeking, and it could be a helpful awareness check for some. The book isn't ground-breaking, and at times I wished she'd spent more time editing the writing, questioning some of the success data for innovative programs she cites, or digging into a few of the issues. But on the whole, this was a useful orientation to what we've done, how it's gone, and what might be next.

  8. 4 out of 5

    James Carter

    After reading a bit of The Test, I've suspected that much: Anya Kamenetz is a fraud. She, a Yale graduate, has virtually zero experience as a teacher and does not clearly understand the world of education because she spends much of her time within the confines of the ivory tower. That's why I have a 1 minute test of listening to people's talk and decide whether they are credible or not. She asks, "Why Our Schools are Obsessed with Standardized Testing?" The answer can be easily summarized in a pa After reading a bit of The Test, I've suspected that much: Anya Kamenetz is a fraud. She, a Yale graduate, has virtually zero experience as a teacher and does not clearly understand the world of education because she spends much of her time within the confines of the ivory tower. That's why I have a 1 minute test of listening to people's talk and decide whether they are credible or not. She asks, "Why Our Schools are Obsessed with Standardized Testing?" The answer can be easily summarized in a page or two. It's the best and most simple possible metric that everybody can have as a snapshot of a particular school. The other side of the coin is it's a big business. I've been an educator in mathematics for 15 years now, having taught in Title 1 urban school serving inner city African Americans, charter school serving students in special education, medical academy serving the gifted and talented students, and universities. There are three traits that make a student successful in school: perseverance, motivation, and (yes) intelligence. But there is one more trait on top of them that is absolutely necessary: attitude; hence, a term is coined: "uncoachable." A combination of at least two of three aforementioned traits is enough for me to predict the outcome of his academic endeavors. Unfortunately, only about 10% to 25% of the students I've encountered have demonstrated them, no matter how hard I try to reach everybody that I have worked with. I've read the book The Bell Curve by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray but found it boring because it's too true. Despite what Anya says, IQ is an inescapable fact of life and is among the most prized qualities that companies look for. It's what separates the cream from the crap. Racism has absolutely nothing to do with it. Like I said, I've worked with African Americans, and it has been increasingly clear to me that they are really 1 standard deviation behind their white peers. Almost nowhere mentioned in the book is the reality of the education system. Forget intelligence. Forget academic progress. Forget standardized tests. And forget innovations. The number one issue in American schools is behavior control. When the students, usually in minority, misbehave, the teachers can forget about what they have planned for the day because it constantly disrupts the academic environment for the majority. I wish they have the power to throw these students out of school, but they just don't and are constantly stuck with them because the administrators are unwilling to deal with them and, more importantly, need to keep them in school for budgetary reasons. And I wish the teachers have a starting salary of at least $75,000 because they are worth that much. The matter of fact is that they are professional babysitters and schools are daycare centers run by babysitters. Keeping parents happy, no matter how, is almost the most important priority facing schools. Being a teacher is the number 1 hardest profession in the world. There is no job that comes close as hard. It's also among the worst of the worst jobs anyone can have. Sure, being a teacher can be made ridiculously easy if given the chance to teach the best of the best. But most of the teachers don't have the luxury. They are stuck with a lot of terrible students with behavior problems and lack of discipline that should have been long instilled in them by their parents. That's why intelligent, highly successful people, such as Anya Kamenetz, never end up being teachers or quit the profession 1 or 2 years into it and never come back again. Those who have stayed still in education have wised up and fast-tracked their careers by becoming a principal which is an easy way out of the quagmire which isn't the same as being a teacher. I've heard and read a lot of quick fixes in the curriculum and behavior control. One thing about them that has remained constant is that they never work. Sure, volumes of research have been published touting them, but the real problem has always been the lack of replication. What might work for one sample doesn't necessarily mean it will work for another sample. That's why I always ask myself whenever I see something new, "How much money is the company making off of this?" Anya's The Test is chock-full of product placements which have nothing to do with the issues at hand, and it gets more pronounced in the 2nd half which is a dreary read to get through. At the same time, she can't resist talking about herself and her daughter which borders between elitism and nausea. At one point, she talks about Early Start pre-school education program in hopes of her daughter getting a head start right out of the gate, but does she realize that these programs have been proven ineffective due to long term fade-out of gains in education? It makes me laugh whenever an author talks about educational practices that have been done in trendy cities and their success. Anya actually commits the crime just a lot of authors in education have before her. Like I said, replication is a major problem because they just don't work in states like Mississippi, South Carolina, Nevada, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Arizona. They probably work better in states like New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Minnesota. Why? Look no further than the findings of The Bell Curve. Talent is really everything and matters the most. America is always on the lookout for it, and it's the biggest reason why competition exists everywhere. Competition is a fact of life, and there is no escaping it. Can't hack the tests? Too bad. They will look for somebody who can, even if they have to go overseas to do it. Can't do the college work? Too bad. They will look for somebody who can, even if they have to go overseas to do it. Not willing to work hard for it? Fine. They will look for somebody who is, even if they have to go overseas to do it. Complain all the time? Fine. They will look for somebody who won't, even if they have to go overseas to do it. High maintenance? Fine. They will look for somebody who is not, even if they have to go overseas to do it. Disabled? Too bad. They will look for somebody who is not, even if they have to go overseas to do it. Have emotional or mental problems? Too bad. They will look for somebody who doesn't have them, even if they have to go overseas to do it. Not pretty or good looking enough? Too bad. They will look for somebody who is, even if they have to go overseas to do it. The bottom line: if the future high school graduates aren't good or useful in anything, that's okay; they will make great consumers. It also helps for them to shut the hell up, do the work, follow the directions, act/look/think normal, and be compliant...oops, I've just revealed a major secret in living the good life in America. All in all, I can't believe people like Anya Kamenetz can have no real experience in a subject they write about and be proclaimed as experts.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Iza October

    (Review first published in Shelf Awareness) Standardized tests have become one of the most prevalent methods of measuring the education system in the United States, but what is the result of this increasingly singular focus? In The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed with Standardized Testing--But You Don't Have to Be, Anya Kamenetz (Generation Debt) reveals how detrimental these exams are to students and teachers, and how damaging they have become to American society as a whole. What began as a m (Review first published in Shelf Awareness) Standardized tests have become one of the most prevalent methods of measuring the education system in the United States, but what is the result of this increasingly singular focus? In The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed with Standardized Testing--But You Don't Have to Be, Anya Kamenetz (Generation Debt) reveals how detrimental these exams are to students and teachers, and how damaging they have become to American society as a whole. What began as a measure to ensure schools were educating their students properly has since become a multibillion-dollar industry that puts students' needs last. Kamenetz argues that high-stakes standardized tests have created an environment in which teachers are no longer authorized to teach a well-rounded curriculum. Since these assessments are unable to measure much beyond of a limited set of math and reading skills, individual students' learning requirements go unaddressed as teachers are forced to "teach to the test." Students end up regurgitating uncomplicated, rote information in order to achieve high scores, which Kamenetz believes is harmful to their eventual success in life. We are sending our children into the world with the ability to answer multiple-choice questions, she notes, but real life requires creativity and critical thought. Kamenetz also highlights how standardized tests blatantly discriminate against minority groups: poor results mean schools lose financial assistance, further punishing society's most vulnerable populations, including immigrants, ESL learners and the learning disabled. The Test provides a vivid portrait of the damage this system causes, on both personal and professional levels. While Kamenetz speaks directly to parents, her argument and suggestions for improvement deserve a broad audience.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Holly Ekblad

    3.5 stars. This was a very interesting read that covered not only what is currently wrong with standardized testing and possible solutions, but also gave some history and political pull of testing. I used this as a main resource in a paper for a masters class. I found several peer reviewed journals that corroborated with the text. It helped me gain a broader perspective of testing - it’s place, purpose, and how it has been abused to be a punitive measuring stick rather than an assessment of stre 3.5 stars. This was a very interesting read that covered not only what is currently wrong with standardized testing and possible solutions, but also gave some history and political pull of testing. I used this as a main resource in a paper for a masters class. I found several peer reviewed journals that corroborated with the text. It helped me gain a broader perspective of testing - it’s place, purpose, and how it has been abused to be a punitive measuring stick rather than an assessment of strengths and weaknesses of students and curriculum. Standardized tests were not designed to be high-stakes determiners of success.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Miller

    As an elementary teacher, I have my own strong opinions about the simplistic over reliance on standardized tests that supposedly show proficiency of students, teachers and schools. Kamenatz’s history of the advent of questionable achievement tests in and out of education, and how they became pervasive in schools, is thorough without becoming overbearing. The speed of technological change and the forced eLearning of the COVID era make her suggestions for improvement seem outdated less than five y As an elementary teacher, I have my own strong opinions about the simplistic over reliance on standardized tests that supposedly show proficiency of students, teachers and schools. Kamenatz’s history of the advent of questionable achievement tests in and out of education, and how they became pervasive in schools, is thorough without becoming overbearing. The speed of technological change and the forced eLearning of the COVID era make her suggestions for improvement seem outdated less than five years after publication. Still, her scholarship and reporting are strong and The Test is a solid examination of the realities of standardized educational culture that exist today.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Avery

    I didn’t learn anything new from this book and I’m equally as frustrated with standardized test practices as I was before reading this book. I don’t really know who this book is for because anyone who cares enough to read a book about standardized testing will probably already know everything this book has to say.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Grace Hill

    First, let me say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Testing is one of the Four Horsemen of modern, progressive education and so is near and dear to my heart, both as an educator and as a parent. On the whole, if you’re not already in tune with the problems with testing in our schools, this is a good explanation, if a tad bit idealistic in solutions.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nurlan Imangaliyev

    Such a great title and topic deserves a slightly better storytelling rather than the dry delivery of facts and restating the obvious. I was looking forward to reading this book, but I have to admit that my expectations were too high.

  15. 4 out of 5

    V K

    Well written, well researched, thoughtful, balanced. Interviewed and discussed many of the important players. I was impressed.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Asra Syed

    Some of my favorite quotes/ideas: "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure...when test scores become the goal of the teaching process, they both lose their value as indicators of educational status and distort the educational process in undesirable ways" (5). "I have a strong personal belief in public schools as the building blocks of democracy" (7). "The 'achievement gap' is a tautology masquerading as a problem: all it really means is that students with disadvantages, on Some of my favorite quotes/ideas: "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure...when test scores become the goal of the teaching process, they both lose their value as indicators of educational status and distort the educational process in undesirable ways" (5). "I have a strong personal belief in public schools as the building blocks of democracy" (7). "The 'achievement gap' is a tautology masquerading as a problem: all it really means is that students with disadvantages, on average, are at a disadvantage" (64). "no country in the world administers as many standardized tests as the United States or used them for the same purposes--particularly, to grade and punish teachers and schools" (77). "Professional standards regulating educational psychological tests clearly state that test results should not be used in isolation to make decisions because they are so highly fallible...Tests, like any human creation, are imperfect. It's when they are used as a sole decisive point of evidence that they become truly harmful" (102). "What if the mandate was to provide the most disadvantaged kids with the best-funded schools, the most advanced curricula, the highest qualified teachers, and all of the wrap-around services they need?" (106). Other noteworthy aspects of this book: -her explanation of the four "current frontiers of alternative testing": Team Robot, Team Monkey, Team Butterfly, and Team Unicorn -her explanation of the ten problems with testing --last chapter seems like a great guide for parents on "Playing and winning the testing game"

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    If you are like me, maybe like every parent, concerned with what feels like a culture of standardized testing in our schools, this is an interesting read that does not just lament the state of hyperfocus on metrics but provides ideas on how we can initiate change. I count myself fortunate that in our school district, there isn't the obsessive focus on the tests and the results. Still, the number of days my children spend each year adds up, so I was interested in the broader conversation around s If you are like me, maybe like every parent, concerned with what feels like a culture of standardized testing in our schools, this is an interesting read that does not just lament the state of hyperfocus on metrics but provides ideas on how we can initiate change. I count myself fortunate that in our school district, there isn't the obsessive focus on the tests and the results. Still, the number of days my children spend each year adds up, so I was interested in the broader conversation around standardized testing. This book took me through the range of parental emotions associated with testing, from frustrated to angry to deflated and finally - thankfully - hopeful. This easy-to-read sociological study of a topic that we've all experienced ourselves and (many of us) through our children lays out facts and studies with an insightful look into the potential future of student, teacher, school and even community evaluation. My one problem with the book is the author's very clear bias that is woven into the first half to two-thirds of the book. Her point of view is so strong that it frequently presents as fact and so in-your-face that I occasionally had to roll my eyes. It moderates as the book goes on - or, possibly, I just began agreeing with her more as the argument unfolds - but it was distracting for me in the early going. On a very minor note, one thing that delighted me throughout this book was the author's use of the pronoun "she" or "her" when referring to the general student. Maybe the universal "he" doesn't have to be so universal, after all.

  18. 4 out of 5

    victor harris

    It joins the chorus of the anti-testing and anti-Common Core wave and with adequate justification in many respects. I thought the history of testing section was the strongest part as it shows how so many bad assumptions about intelligence and learning became tied to quantitative results, most of which were and are based on multiple-choice tests. Examples taken from those tests show how bewildering the testing models have become and how destructive they can be when used as a formula for determin It joins the chorus of the anti-testing and anti-Common Core wave and with adequate justification in many respects. I thought the history of testing section was the strongest part as it shows how so many bad assumptions about intelligence and learning became tied to quantitative results, most of which were and are based on multiple-choice tests. Examples taken from those tests show how bewildering the testing models have become and how destructive they can be when used as a formula for determining student and teacher competence. As an advocate for using a variety of approaches to evaluation and promote learning, the author supplies many alternatives that can (or at least should be) integrated into the testing formats. She learns strongly toward the multi-media styles that are surging in popularity. These can be used to accommodate the range of print, visual, auditory learners, reinforcing some skills or providing alternatives for those who are deficient in certain learning styles. I thought the advice for those who want to opt out of the testing craze was broken down well and useful, though before participating, I offer a cautionary note that a parent check the legality and consequences first before electing to do so. The last section was the weakest. It is basically a rehash of some time-honored testing tips and motivational hints that are a standard part of exam preparation. Worth browsing for a parent perhaps, but more of an appendix to the main central issues of the perils of the modern testing mania.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    I received this book from the Goodreads Giveaways. First let me say that I do not have any children in school. My daughter is grown and is currently homeschooling our grandchild. I have not been involved in any of the current testing controversies in our schools. This book was a real eye-opener. It has been thoroughly researched and is extremely informative, providing history, real life examples and possible solutions. I did not realize just how much testing today's children are subjected to on a I received this book from the Goodreads Giveaways. First let me say that I do not have any children in school. My daughter is grown and is currently homeschooling our grandchild. I have not been involved in any of the current testing controversies in our schools. This book was a real eye-opener. It has been thoroughly researched and is extremely informative, providing history, real life examples and possible solutions. I did not realize just how much testing today's children are subjected to on a regular basis. As many have said our children are more than score on a piece of paper. We all realize tests are an important measuring tool, but it appears to me that the tests have become this country's system-wide measuring tool to fix all the ills of our social and economic problems. By doing this our children, teachers and parents are all suffering. Just what are we measuring with all these tests? We need a better way to hold our teachers, administrators and school systems accountable for the education of our children. One standard does not fit all. Great book. It doesn't have all the answers but it is an excellent guidebook for things to explore and examine.

  20. 5 out of 5

    b aaron talbot

    this book is a must read for anyone connected in any way to teaching: administrators, teachers, parents, students, concerned citizens...truly phenomenal in it depth and range, it's critiques and proposals, and it is extremely readable. I feel like everything I have been saying over the past 7 years is not on,y vindicated with this book, but kamenetz takes her critiques and proposals further than I imagined: whether tracing multiple choice tests back to its eugenics roots or illustrating schools a this book is a must read for anyone connected in any way to teaching: administrators, teachers, parents, students, concerned citizens...truly phenomenal in it depth and range, it's critiques and proposals, and it is extremely readable. I feel like everything I have been saying over the past 7 years is not on,y vindicated with this book, but kamenetz takes her critiques and proposals further than I imagined: whether tracing multiple choice tests back to its eugenics roots or illustrating schools and programs around the country that teach successfully without a focus on testing at all or integrating testing in a meaningful and constructive way. I am giving this book to my principal immediately (upon her request) and I hope to continue this conversation with my colleagues and students. truly one of the most important books I've read in the past 10 years.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Munn

    How we measure and promote student achievement is an extremely important and complex topic that deserves better than this Fox News-worthy book full of logical fallacies. Strawmen and weak yet soundbyte-y anecdotes abound (i.e. the Thomas Friedman pop-journalism approach), all feedbacking into a confirmation bias-flooded echo chamber tied up with a bow. Tests aren't the silver bullet answer to everything, and they definitely have their problems, but the author doesn't parse those issues with anyt How we measure and promote student achievement is an extremely important and complex topic that deserves better than this Fox News-worthy book full of logical fallacies. Strawmen and weak yet soundbyte-y anecdotes abound (i.e. the Thomas Friedman pop-journalism approach), all feedbacking into a confirmation bias-flooded echo chamber tied up with a bow. Tests aren't the silver bullet answer to everything, and they definitely have their problems, but the author doesn't parse those issues with anything that even approaches robust analysis. Instead, she flippantly trafficks misinformation and oversimplified boogiemen onto the reader. After this, a handful of rosy but half-baked solutions are offered up (again, without taking a decent look at the costs and benefits). Unfortunate and irritating.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gary Anderson

    Anya Kamenetz’s The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed with Standardized Testing—But You Don’t Have to Be is a welcome contribution to the dialogue about the value of all the testing going on today in America’s schools. Kamenetz begins with an overview of where we are and why it is a problem. She then delves into the history of how we got to this point. Perhaps most valuably, she then explores valid alternatives to the misguided, high-stakes testing regimen currently thriving in our schools and Anya Kamenetz’s The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed with Standardized Testing—But You Don’t Have to Be is a welcome contribution to the dialogue about the value of all the testing going on today in America’s schools. Kamenetz begins with an overview of where we are and why it is a problem. She then delves into the history of how we got to this point. Perhaps most valuably, she then explores valid alternatives to the misguided, high-stakes testing regimen currently thriving in our schools and ways that parents can make the best of things for their own children. (I don’t know how long it will last, but as I write this, virtually the entire book is available for free on Amazon in the “Look Inside” preview section.)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    There were too many missed opportunities in this text for me to be very excited about it. Rather than superficially surveying the terrain, I wish the author had taken up a few of the thornier issues and really considered them deeply and from a variety of perspectives. We are too far into this debate for a primer, and the exploration of alternatives was too cursory to be useful. That said, perhaps this text will generate more attention to various opt-out movements and alternative-to-testing model There were too many missed opportunities in this text for me to be very excited about it. Rather than superficially surveying the terrain, I wish the author had taken up a few of the thornier issues and really considered them deeply and from a variety of perspectives. We are too far into this debate for a primer, and the exploration of alternatives was too cursory to be useful. That said, perhaps this text will generate more attention to various opt-out movements and alternative-to-testing models, which might make room for more rigorous engagement with the core issues underlying accountability surveillance.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    ARC Copy: A good read, but not a quick or easy read. Be ready for a lot of history and stats about testing. As a teacher, it was nice to learn of testing history. Regardless of how you feel about testing, this is a good book to read. What are the effects of testing on our children? It's given me a lot to think about and I've been observing my own children's experience with testing more closely. While I understand the reasons schools and teachers are obsessed with testing, I do hope that a better ARC Copy: A good read, but not a quick or easy read. Be ready for a lot of history and stats about testing. As a teacher, it was nice to learn of testing history. Regardless of how you feel about testing, this is a good book to read. What are the effects of testing on our children? It's given me a lot to think about and I've been observing my own children's experience with testing more closely. While I understand the reasons schools and teachers are obsessed with testing, I do hope that a better option is available one day.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    A good overview of the testing dilemma in the U.S. The book is at its strongest when Kamenetz explores the possibilities of what testing could look like in the future. Specifically, how technologies could pull data about student progress while they are engaged in learning is intriguing. However, there was a lot of research left by the wayside, with the author too often utilizing anecdotes and quotes to support her position. Still, The Test is a very helpful guide for someone looking to better un A good overview of the testing dilemma in the U.S. The book is at its strongest when Kamenetz explores the possibilities of what testing could look like in the future. Specifically, how technologies could pull data about student progress while they are engaged in learning is intriguing. However, there was a lot of research left by the wayside, with the author too often utilizing anecdotes and quotes to support her position. Still, The Test is a very helpful guide for someone looking to better understand this topic.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    I confess to having skimmed a lot of this. That said, it's really interesting in an accessibly wonky way - and does a good job of breaking down the problem with standardized testing in the "ten arguments against testing" section, which I had my 12yo read before she opted out of this year's state ELA/math exams. She commends performance assessment as a different better way to teach and measure progress, and calls out the NY Performance Assessment Consortium (http://performanceassessment.org). And I confess to having skimmed a lot of this. That said, it's really interesting in an accessibly wonky way - and does a good job of breaking down the problem with standardized testing in the "ten arguments against testing" section, which I had my 12yo read before she opted out of this year's state ELA/math exams. She commends performance assessment as a different better way to teach and measure progress, and calls out the NY Performance Assessment Consortium (http://performanceassessment.org). And she notes poverty as a huge determinative as to success in school and on standardized tests.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    This book is an excellent history of standardized testing, and also presents very well the detrimental effects our obsession with testing is having on our schools and our children. The book ends, however, with some hope, as Kamenetz describes some trends that may make a difference for the future as well as providing strategies for parents to minimize the impact on their children. A well-researched and informative read!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cristi

    I was looking for arguments against standardized testing - which I got. And, I was looking for ways to help my children not pressure themselves through the testing and benchmarks and all the other things - I got some tips there as well. Gets very deep into education and some theory but really helped me understand how all this standardized testing mess came about and that it really in the end isn't all that big of a thing. I was looking for arguments against standardized testing - which I got. And, I was looking for ways to help my children not pressure themselves through the testing and benchmarks and all the other things - I got some tips there as well. Gets very deep into education and some theory but really helped me understand how all this standardized testing mess came about and that it really in the end isn't all that big of a thing.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bernie

    A book full of thoughts on how we can change the effects of NCLB both as a nation and as adults (teachers, parents, administrators) in our country today. I know there is a push in many states to re-look at what we are doing as a nation and I am definitely on board with Education Minnesota in being a part of the voice that says "Teaching is not Testing." A book full of thoughts on how we can change the effects of NCLB both as a nation and as adults (teachers, parents, administrators) in our country today. I know there is a push in many states to re-look at what we are doing as a nation and I am definitely on board with Education Minnesota in being a part of the voice that says "Teaching is not Testing."

  30. 4 out of 5

    David

    not her fault, but i'm officially tired of articles/books about limitations of standardized tests as ways of judging how our schools, or individual teachers, are doing. picks up a bit in the middle as she surveys some alternatives on the horizon, notably game-based adaptive testing, which ETS of all places is working on a great deal these days. not her fault, but i'm officially tired of articles/books about limitations of standardized tests as ways of judging how our schools, or individual teachers, are doing. picks up a bit in the middle as she surveys some alternatives on the horizon, notably game-based adaptive testing, which ETS of all places is working on a great deal these days.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...