The Myths of Standardized Tests

Why They Don't Tell You What You Think They Do

By (author) Phillip Harris, Bruce M. Smith, Joan Harris Contributions by Larry Barber, Gerald W. Bracey, Tom O'Brien, Ken Jones, Gail Marshall, Susan Ohanian, Stanley Pogrow, W James Popham

Publication date:

16 January 2011

Length of book:

206 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781442208094

Pundits, politicians, and business leaders continually make claims for what standardized tests can do, and those claims go largely unchallenged because they are in line with popular assumptions about what these tests can do, what the scores mean, and the psychology of human motivation. But what most of what these opinion leaders say-and the public believes-about standardized testing just isn't so. However, few members of the general public, not even concerned parents, have the time or the background to keep up with the latest findings of testing experts, psychometricians, and researchers. That's where The Myths of Standardized Tests comes in. In simple, accessible language, Harris, Smith, and Harris spell out the assumptions underlying standardized tests and point out what's true about them and what's just plain mythical. But they not only debunk common assumptions; they propose better ways to judge the success of our schools. They also offer readers suggestions for ways they can help reduce the burden of tests on their children.
Appendixes offer readers contact information and suggestions for actions they can take to become part of the solution to the problem of overusing and misusing standardized tests.
The book explains, using a load of research, why high-stakes standardized tests are less objective than many people believe, why they don't adequately measure student achievement, how the results distort the validity of the assessment system, how these tests “inadvertently” lead young people to become “superficial thinkers,” and much more. The easy-to-read book does not only look at what's wrong with tests but also discusses what “genuine accountability” looks like.