Book Review

High Stakes: Testing for Tracking, Promotion, and Graduation


Reviewed by Peter L. Carparelli,
Superintendent, Teton County School
District No. 1, Jackson Hole, Wyo.

 

One would expect that any report of research conducted by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council would be powerful and far-reaching. When the respected Board on Testing and Assessment carries out the research, one might expect a report that provides recommendations that will make a real difference in the field.

Alas, this is not the case with High Stakes: Testing for Tracking, Promotion and Graduation.

It is difficult to pan a report prepared by prestigious bodies composed of highly regarded scientists, but it is only fair to present it as it is--a non-starter.

High Stakes presents recommendations such as: "Graduation tests should provide evidence of mastery of material taught," and "Scores from large-scale assessments should never be the only sources of information used to make a promotion or retention decision." These recommendations and many others are only a step better than insipid or even inane to the professional involved in today's policy and decision-making arenas.

presents recommendations such as: "Graduation tests should provide evidence of mastery of material taught," and "Scores from large-scale assessments should never be the only sources of information used to make a promotion or retention decision." These recommendations and many others are only a step better than insipid or even inane to the professional involved in today's policy and decision-making arenas.

In fairness, this report can serve as a basic reference for educators involved in the formation of policy or in the design of procedures related to high-stakes decisions--promotion, retention and/or graduation.

(High Stakes: Testing for Tracking, Promotion, and Graduation, by Jay P. Heubert and Robert M. Hauser, editors, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 1999, 352 pp. with index, $39.95 softcover)