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“Daniel Koretz’ TheTesting Charade: Pretending to Make Schools Better may be the best book on testing since his Measuring Up: What Educational Testing Really Tells Us. We should all be grateful to Koretz’ editor who told him to stop “pulling your punches.” That’s why The Testing Charade “finally” uses “honest adjectives to describe the harm high-stakes testing has done to students and teachers.”
“That being said, Koretz had been correct to use “carefully measured” academic language in his earlier discussions of education policy. Since he was such a respected scholar, even the most true-believing, accountability-driven reformers had to listen to Koretz’ advice. He also had to be diplomatic in order to negotiate access to data that school systems carefully guard, and advise superintendents and other education leaders. In some of the most valuable parts of the book, Koretz is thus able to explain the edu-politics that created a testing regime that remains “Beyond All Reason.” (Emphasis is Koretz’)
“These conversations illustrate why Koretz had to conclude his analysis with a reminder that thirty years ago he and other social scientists warned that test-based accountability “wouldn’t succeed.” The stakes attached to tests were much smaller back then but he predicted that even those milder accountability systems would “face only three options: cheat, find other ways to cut corners, or fail.” However, neither Koretz or anyone else “predicted just how extreme the failures of test-based reform would be.” He didn’t anticipate cheating on the scale that it occurred. He expected bad test prep, but he “didn’t expect states and districts would openly peddle it to their teachers.”
Read the Review. Read the book.