Book Reviews

101 More Questions and Answers About Standards, Assessment and Accountability

by Douglas B. Reeves

Reviewed by Ronald S. Thomas
Associate Director,
Center for Leadership in Education,
Towson University, Baltimore, Md.

Have a vexing question about the hot-button issues of education today? Chances are good that your question is addressed by Doug Reeves in his new book, 101 More Questions and Answers About Standards, Assessment and Accountability.

Queries (there are actually 105 of them) are grouped into categories such as Power Standards (Reeves’ approach to focusing on the standards that matter the most), performance assessment, reading, writing, grading, reporting data and engaging stakeholders. His answers are right on target, with research backing up each in a straightforward and understandable fashion.

Reeves’ basic message, consistent throughout all 18 of his books, is that, while state content standards are not perfect, when they are clear, consistent, rigorous and linked to classroom instruction, student achievement improves. Standards remain the only viable alternative to grading on the bell curve. That alone, in his view, is sufficient justification for a standards-based approach.

I have used Reeves’ work with teachers and school improvement teams. His principles are well received by educators and, most importantly, they work. My only complaint about 101 More Questions and Answers is the author’s incessant plugging of his website and his other books throughout the text. As faults go, it’s minor, but it is annoying.

(101 More Questions and Answers About Standards, Assessment and Accountability by Douglas B. Reeves, Advanced Learning Press, Englewood, Calif., 2004, 224 pp. with index, $16.95 softcover)