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Edited by Becky Shelley, Kitty te Riele, Natalie Brown and Tess Crellin

The transformative power of education is widely recognised. Yet, harnessing the transformative power of education is complex for exactly those people and communities who would benefit the most. Much scholarship is available describing the ways in which educational access, opportunity and outcomes are unequally distributed; and much scholarship is dedicated to analysing and critiquing the ‘problems’ of education.

This volume gratefully builds on such analysis, to take a more constructive stance: examining how to better enable education to fulfil its promise of transforming lives.

Harnessing the Transformative Power of Education returns overall to a broader language of educational change rather than reduce our sense of scale and scope of ‘transformation’ to what might be measured in or by schools. It offers a series of practical, local but system wide and socially responsible practices, policies and analyses to support the ways that education can work at its best. The projects described here vary in scale and scope but are rooted in a wider sense of community and social responsibility so that education is considered as a necessary sustainable process to ensure productive futures for all.

Its contributors include not only scholars, but also professional experts and young people. The book’s aim is to share and advance authentic possibilities for enabling all children and young people to flourish through the transformative power of education.

The High Stakes of Testing

Exploring Student Experience with Standardized Assessment through Governmentality

Series:

Amy L. Kelly

Standardized assessments have long been part of the educative experience for students around the world. The high-stakes nature of these tests can have damaging and enduring effects for public school systems, particularly the youth. With the adoption of Common Core State Standards and mandated state-wide accountability measures, high-stakes tests, like the PARCC, gained quick and controversial notoriety.

The high-stakes discourse has been dominated by politicians, educators, and parents. Notably absent from this dialogue are the voices of those whom are impacted the most: students. Largely influenced by Critical Pedagogy, this research sheds light on the negative, punitive, and often arbitrary nature of testing in schools. The paramount intention of this publication is to raise awareness of student experiences and perspectives of standardized testing.

The High Stakes of Testing analyzes the experiences, relationships, thoughts, ideas, and opinions students have with standardized assessment measures. Interviews with seven students in Grades 3, 5, and 8 are examined through a governmentality lens to reveal the ways in which the youth are manipulated, regulated, and disciplined to view standardized testing as a natural part of what it means to be a public-school student. It is only when we can begin to see and appreciate how our youth interact with the omnipresent testing in our public schools can we begin to envision changing these accountability practices.