A Measure of Failure
The Political Origins of Standardized Testing
Alternative formats available from:
Table of contents
Asks how and why standardized tests have become the ubiquitous standard by which educational achievement and intelligence are measured.
Winner of the 2011 Critics Choice Award presented by the American Educational Studies Association
How did standardized tests become the measure of performance in our public schools? In this compelling work, Mark J. Garrison attempts to answer this question by analyzing the development of standardized testing, from the days of Horace Mann and Alfred Binet to the current scene. Approaching the issue from a sociohistorical perspective, the author demonstrates the ways standardized testing has been used to serve the interests of the governing class by attaching a performance-based value to people and upholding inequality in American society. The book also discusses the implications that a restructuring of standardized testing would have on the future of education, specifically what it could do to eliminate the measure of individual worth based on performance.
Mark J. Garrison is Associate Professor and Director of Doctoral Programs at D'Youville College.
"Garrison's analysis of the political origins and impact of standardized tests provides an important look at their current use and misuse … Here is an important book worthy of careful consideration." — CHOICE
"…Garrison explains, in language that is accessible to a broad spectrum of readers, what is really behind our societal obsession with standardized testing." — Bowling Green Daily News
"Both original and provocative, A Measure of Failure is a compelling account of the historical and contemporary relationship between standardized testing in education and processes of state formation." — Thomas C. Pedroni, author of Market Movements: African American Involvement in School Voucher Reform