Last updated on: 6/8/2012 | Author:

Alfie Kohn, MA Biography

Author of The Case Against Standardized Testing and other books
Con to the question "Do Standardized Tests Improve Education in America?"

“You deprive kids of recess, eliminate music and the arts, cut back the class meetings and discussions of current events, offer less time to read books for pleasure, squeeze out the field trips and interdisciplinary projects and high-quality electives, spend enough time teaching test-taking tricks, and, you bet, it’s possible to raise [test] scores. But that result is meaningless at best. When a school or district reports better test results this year than last, knowledgeable parents and other observers respond by saying, ‘So what?’ (because higher test scores do not necessarily reflect higher quality teaching and learning) – or even, ‘Uh oh’ (because higher test scores may indicate lower quality teaching and learning).

And once you realize that the tests are unreliable indicators of quality, then what possible reason would there be to subject kids – usually African American and Latino kids – to those mind-numbing, spirit-killing, regimented instructional programs that were designed principally to raise test scores? If your only argument in favor of such a program is that it improves results on deeply flawed tests, you haven’t offered any real argument at all.”

“Standardized Testing: Separating Wheat Children from Chaff Children,”, 2002

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Author of 12 books on education, parenting, and human behavior
  • Articles published in the Journal of Education, Ladies Home Journal, the Nation, Harvard Business Review, Atlantic Monthly, Phi Delta Kappan, Parents, Psychology Today, and other publications
  • Keynote speaker and workshop facilitator for teachers and administrators
  • Appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, NBC’s Today, and other TV and radio programs
  • Profiled in the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times
  • MA, Social Sciences, University of Chicago, 1980
  • BA, Brown University, 1979
  • Lives in Boston, MA
  • Has two children
  • Born in Miami Beach, FL
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Do Standardized Tests Improve Education in America?