Worth Reading

K-12 Testing

Prolific education reform author Alfie Kohn’s new book, The Schools Our Children Deserve, offers a powerful critique of what happens to curriculum and instruction under the onslaught of standardized tests. Among the common problems he documents are decreased student motivation, drilling to low-level skills, deprofessionalization of teachers, and destruction of rich educational programs. In a particularly sharp section, Kohn details how and why test results can provide misleading information about students.


In part I of the book, “Tougher Standards Versus Better Education,” Kohn analyzes flawed theories and practices of: motivation, teaching and learning, evaluation, school reform, and school improvement. The second part explores what high quality education, including assessment, could be. The book is particularly valuable for its extensive notes and bibliography backing up the analysis.
- Houghton Mifflin, $24.00.