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This powerful collection from the groundbreaking Rethinking Schools magazine takes high-stakes standardized tests to task.
Despite overwhelming evidence that the tests are invalid ways to measure teaching and learning—and continuing signs of their unjust effects on students and teachers—“reformers” and policymakers continue to force high-stakes tests into the public schools.
Through articles that provide thoughtful and emotional critiques from the frontlines of education, Pencils Down deconstructs the damage that standardized tests wreak on our education system and the human beings that populate it. Better yet, it offers visionary forms of assessment that are not only more authentic, but also more democratic, fair, and accurate.
Praise for the book:
"No questions asked, Pencils Down is one of the most comprehensive, scholarly (and yet eminently readable) take-downs of the nation's testing craze ever produced. Combining a just-right mix of quantitative analysis, with the compelling personal narratives of educators trying to reach children in ways a test can never measure, this volume is a must read for teachers, administrators, parents and policy makers."
—Tim Wise, author, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, and Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority
"Finally we have a book that demystifies and challenges the madness of the “almighty” testing craze! At a time when the most vulnerable students are further victimized and made to feel even more marginal, Wayne Au and Melissa Bollow Tempel have compiled a document that should be read by anyone who thinks there is something fundamentally wrong with the current emphasis on testing over quality education."
—David Stovall, associate professor, Educational Policy Studies and African-American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago
"Here, in one place, is a collection that looks at standardized testing and its alternatives in exactly the ways useful to teachers, parents, and teachers of teachers! What an enormous contribution to us all. It can change what you do at your school—tomorrow."
—Debbie Meier, author of The Power of Their Ideas and Save Our Schools steering committee member
"Wayne Au and Melissa Bollow Tempel bring to us a complete exposure of the damages of high-stakes testing and sensible suggestions of alternatives with compelling stories, insightful analyses, and clear action plans. This book is a wake-up call, a must read for everyone concerned about our children’s education."
—Yong Zhao, presidential chair and associate dean, College of Education, University of Oregon, and author of Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization