Book Title: The Heart of the Matter: Using Standards and Assessment to Learn
Author: Beverly Falk
For too many years, in too many schools, implementing higher standards has meant using the same methods to teach more and harder content, usually unsuccessfully. With this important book, Beverly Falk challenges that thinking. She explores the complexities of assessment, accountability, and standards-based reform, and their impact on classroom practice. And by offering strategies for using standards and assessments to support meaningful learning for all students, she truly gets to the heart of the matter.
Included are the tools for moving forward and using education to improve the lives of children:
- an examination of the problems of traditional standardized tests - and of the benefits of performance assessments
- an overview of how performance assessments can be created and used to serve a variety of purposes
- a discussion of standards, their strengths and weaknesses, and ways to assess them for worthy goals and opportunities for appropriate, effective practices
- guidelines for developing and organizing standards-based curriculum and assessment
- ways to use standards and assessments to enhance professional learning and to create a coherent, schoolwide educational program.
By placing the discussion in the context of teaching for understanding and critical inquiry, Falk's perspective is refreshing. she provides and alternative to the demand for high-stakes, skills-only standardized testing and pressures to track and retain students that have proliferated in the name of standards-based reform. More important - for teachers, administrators, teacher educators, and anyone in despair over defective models of standards and accountability - she provides hope.