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In his book The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools (2000), Alfie Kohn - one of the nation's most outspoken educational critics - concisely explains the inherent harms of a test-driven curriculum.  Additionally, he suggests ways in which teachers, parents, and students can successfully fight against both the ignorant politicians who parade their notions of accountability for media sound-bites, and the wave of test-obsession that our schools have embraced with something akin to religious fervor.   Finally, James Alexander, Ph.D., Asst. Prof. of Elem. Educ.
Kentucky Wesleyan College, has contributed an original essay.

Measuring What Matters Least 
Although test scores are frequently quoted by newspapers, and hailed as the most effective way of measuring a students' success, they aren't necessarily valid indicators of achievement. 

The Worst Tests  Not all tests are created equal.  Although most tests are harmful, some - such as multiple choice, timed, or norm referenced examinations - prove even more damaging to children.

Burnt at the High Stakes  Simply put, high stakes testing is a flawed notion with a vast array of negative consequences. Though talk of 'accountability' and 'raising the bar' might make for good media sound bites, high stakes testing has led to increased incidents of bribery, coercion, and cheating.

Poor Teaching for Poor Kids  The movement towards high stakes testing has placed children from lower socio-economic backgrounds at an even greater disadvantage.  Not only are tests often biased, but such students lack access to equal amounts of funding for quality teachers and test preparation.

If Not Standardized Tests, Then What?   Contrary to popular belief, there are alternatives to standardized testing.  Written evaluations, parent-teacher conferences, and performance assessments such as the 'portfolio' could not only lessen the need for standardized tests, but also lead to increased communication between all involved parties.

Fighting the Tests  Nothing about our educational system need be set in stone. We found ways to incorporate standardized testing as a major component of modern schooling, and likewise, we can find ways to remove such elements when they prove harmful.

Beware of Movements  James Alexander, Ph.D. describes experiences of people confronted with the reality of standardized testing.

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