Collateral Damage: How High-stakes Testing Corrupts America's Schools

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Harvard Education Press, 2007 - Education - 234 pages
Drawing on their extensive research, Nichols and Berliner document and categorize the ways that high-stakes testing threatens the purposes and ideals of the American education system.

For more than a decade, the debate over high-stakes testing has dominated the field of education. This passionate and provocative book provides a fresh perspective on the issue and powerful ammunition for opponents of high-stakes tests.

Their analysis is grounded in the application of Campbell's Law, which posits that the greater the social consequences associated with a quantitative indicator (such as test scores), the more likely it is that the indicator itself will become corrupted--and the more likely it is that the use of the indicator will corrupt the social processes it was intended to monitor.

Nichols and Berliner illustrate both aspects of this "corruption," showing how the pressures of high-stakes testing erode the validity of test scores and distort the integrity of the education system. Their analysis provides a coherent and comprehensive intellectual framework for the wide-ranging arguments against high-stakes testing, while putting a compelling human face on the data marshalled in support of those arguments.

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Brings up some interesting points with lots of specific examples through the nation about the negatives of high-stakes testing. However, it is so ridiculously one sided and seems almost as though they want to trick the reader, even though I would imagine most readers would already be against high-stakes testing. Vague awful examples are given that make you want to take pity on each individual until you realize that there are many more sides of the story not being represented. The book, for all of it's grievous complaining, provides only a few suggestions at the end of the book about what could be fixed.  


Judging Such Occurrences
Excluding Students from Education by Design and
States Cheat Too How Statistical Trickery

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About the author (2007)

Sharon L. Nichols is an assistant professor at the University of Texas at San Antonia. David C. Berliner is the Regents' Professor of Education at Arizona State University in Tempe. He is a past president of the American Educational Research Association and a member of the National Academy of Education.

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