Show Less
Restricted access

de-testing and de-grading schools

Authentic Alternatives to Accountability and Standardization


Edited By Joe Bower and Paul L. Thomas

A century of education and education reform, along with more than three decades of high-stakes testing and accountability, reveals a disturbing paradox: education has a steadfast commitment to testing and grading. This commitment persists despite ample research, theory, and philosophy revealing the corrosive consequences of both testing and grading in an education system designed to support human agency and democratic principles. This revised edited volume brings together a collection of updated and new essays that confronts the failure of testing and grading. The book explores the historical failure of testing and grading; the theoretical and philosophical arguments against testing and grading; the negative influence of tests and grades on social justice, race, class, and gender; and the role that they play in perpetuating a deficit perspective of children. The chapters fall under two broad sections. Part I, Degrading Learning, Detesting Education: The Failure of High-Stake Accountability in Education, includes essays on the historical, theoretical, and philosophical arguments against testing and grading. Part II, De-Grading and De-Testing in a Time of High-Stakes Education Reform, presents practical experiments in de-testing and de-grading classrooms for authentic learning experiences.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter Eight: Reconciling Student Outcomes and Community Self-Reliance in Modern School Reform Contexts


| 113 →


Reconciling Student Outcomes AND Community Self-Reliance IN Modern School Reform Contexts



Education for African Americans has historically been linked to the broad movement to improve their lot in life. From slavery and Jim Crow, toward fuller membership in American society, schooling was as much about academic learning as it was for ensuring the sustainability of the black community. Due to both de jure and de facto racial segregation, there have historically been high levels of self- determination in schooling for African Americans (Anderson, 1988). The boundaries of the racial community were often undistinguishable from the geographic communities in which African Americans lived. Because of segregation, racial uplift became the raison d’être in all sectors of black society. Education offered a pragmatic focus for community development, political empowerment, and economic enfranchisement. This has meant employment of black teachers, the visible presence of the African American experience in the curriculum, and significant local decision-making power.

The latest wave of test-based reform is in direct conflict with this tradition of racial uplift and self-reliance, which have served the African American community well as often disenfranchised members of an oblivious society at-large. Modern school reforms have substituted test-score growth for community development as the ultimate metric of educational success. And we have very little understanding of what this substitution might do in our...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.