Review by Choice Review
Packed with information, Phye's volume summarizes recent research and policy about a crucial, highly controversial aspect of K-12 education. Sections cover theory and policy, classroom and large scale assessment, assessment in preschool, mathematics, social studies, foreign language and arts (but not language arts or science), as well as special topics such as portfolio assessment and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Chapters vary in quality (one brief multiple choice survey cannot adequately describe teachers' knowledge of assessment) but provide excellent reviews of research literature and examples of practice, illustrate the complexity of assessment, and stress the need for multiple sources of data for any coherent, valid assessment system. The distinction between assessment for and by classroom teachers (assessing learning) and a large scale assessment for policy purposes (assessing achievement) is made repeatedly. A chapter on the role of standardized achievement tests in grades K-12 does not even discuss testing in K-2 because "the appropriateness of [such] tests for the youngest students is currently an area of great disagreement." This position, widely accepted by theorists, would surprise millions of children and their teachers, who routinely encounter such tests. Excellent for researchers, faculty, and highly motivated professionals, the book is unlikely to appeal to many practicing teachers. G. E. Hein; Lesley College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.