BOOK FACT FRIDAY

FACT: “The use of large-scale testing grew exponentially in the United States after World War I, when it was demonstrated that a mass-administered version of what was essentially an IQ test (what was then called ‘Army Alpha’) improved the accuracy and efficiency of the placement of recruits into the various military training programs. The precursors of what would eventually become the SAT were modeled on Army Alpha.”

Uneducated Guesses: Using Evidence to Uncover Misguided Education Policies
by Howard Wainer

Uneducated Guesses challenges everything our policymakers thought they knew about education and education reform, from how to close the achievement gap in public schools to admission standards for top universities. In this explosive book, Howard Wainer uses statistical evidence to show why some of the most widely held beliefs in education today—and the policies that have resulted—are wrong. He shows why colleges that make the SAT optional for applicants end up with underperforming students and inflated national rankings, and why the push to substitute achievement tests for aptitude tests makes no sense. Wainer challenges the thinking behind the enormous rise of advanced placement courses in high schools, and demonstrates why assessing teachers based on how well their students perform on tests—a central pillar of recent education reforms—is woefully misguided. He explains why college rankings are often lacking in hard evidence, why essay questions on tests disadvantage women, why the most grievous errors in education testing are not made by testing organizations—and much more.

No one concerned about seeing our children achieve their full potential can afford to ignore this book. With forceful storytelling, wry insight, and a wealth of real-world examples, Uneducated Guesses exposes today’s educational policies to the light of empirical evidence, and offers solutions for fairer and more viable future policies.

“[T]hought-provoking. . . . He questions the anecdotal and statistical evidence that underpins many of today’s education policies and reform efforts.”—Library Journal

Uneducated Guesses is an insider’s look at using test scores to make high stakes decisions in education. In this rigorous, refreshing rebuttal of conventional thinking, Wainer argues that in the world of education policy, we all would be better served by examining the evidence that demonstrates that our ideas will improve the systems we’re trying to transform.”—Dennis Van Roekel, president, National Education Association

We invite you to read the Introduction here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i9529.pdf