A Teacher's Guide to Standardized Reading Tests: Knowledge is Power

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In recent years, the increasingly high stakes attached to norm-referenced reading tests have made it harder to hold onto what we believe about language arts education. Now, Lucy Calkins, Kate Montgomery, and Donna Santman meet us in the true trenches, offering companionship and guidance in the most lonely, complex, and sometimes heartbreaking area of our teaching: preparing students for standardized reading tests.

Written with the intimacy, inspiration, and classroom-based practicality we've come to expect from The Art of Teaching Writing, A Teacher's Guide to Standardized Reading Tests reflects the authors' belief that in order to be less victimized by tests, we need to be more knowledgeable about them. To that end, their book:

  • provides a complete overview of tests, showing us how to use this information to be more powerful and more articulate participants in today's political conversations and in our interactions with colleagues, parents, and our students
  • demonstrates how the methods we've come to trust in the reading and writing workshop can be built upon and adapted as we do test-preparation work with our students
  • rethinks the reading workshop in light of standardized tests, describing predictable challenges children will face when taking tests and ways we can help children develop the capabilities to meet those challenges
  • provides guidelines for reading and interpreting test results, enabling us to minimize the damage caused by troubling scores.
"If our students do well on tests," write the authors, "we are in a far stronger position to be critical of those same tests." With A Teacher's Guide to Standardized Reading Tests, educators can achieve these results, and advocate for and use forms of assessment that inform teaching and support student learning.

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User Review  - goodnightmoon - LibraryThing

Fantastic and indispensable reference for the "progressive, literature-based" teacher who needs to integrate her child-centered beliefs with the reality of test prep. It's an accessible analysis of ... Read full review


Learning Enough to Talk
When a Concern for Scores Drives
The Overlap of Good Teaching and

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About the author (1998)

LUCY CALKINS is founding director of the Teachers College Writing Project, a coalition of teachers, teacher-administrators, professors and writers, which provides professional sustenance and hope--roots and wings--to literacy educators across the country. Her celebrated Heinemann publications include: Lessons From a Child (1983),Living Between the Lines (with Shelley Harwayne, 1990), and The Art of Teaching Writing (1986,1994). Ms. Calkins has also developed The Writing Workshop videotape (produced by Shelley Harwayne and Alex Mitchell) and has written The Writing Workshop (with Shelley Harwayne, 1987) to accompany the videotape. Lucy Calkins is an active participant in Heinemann's Professional Development Services through Heinemann Workshops.KATE MONTGOMERY teaches reading and writing in Harlem, New York. Prior to this, she was a Peace Corps literacy educator in Kenya and teacher of English in Czechoslovakia. Kate has been a lead researcher in all of the Teachers College Reading Project's work in New York City schools and has played a major role in shaping the Project's thinking about the teaching of reading.Through her work with the Children's Defense Fund in Washington D.C. and her years of upper elementary school teaching at the Bronx New School, DONNA SANTMAN has come to believe that teaching and advocacy are intertwined. As a staff-developer with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, Donna leads a Schools-for-All-Readers initiative. She also leads think tanks and institutes on topics such as working with struggling and strong readers, and holding children accountable for doing their best work.BEVERLY FALK is an associate professor at the School of Education, City College of New York. She has been a teacher of early childhood through graduate education courses, the founder and principal of a New York City public elementary school, a district administrator, a consultant to schools, districts, and states, and the Associate Director of the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching (NCREST) at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is also the creator of The Early Literacy Profile and coauthor of Authentic Assessment in Action (with Linda Darling-Hammond and Jacqueline Ancess, Teachers College Press)

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