dilemma: hi-stakes history test ?

 == UPDATE ==
Bender’s talk will be re-aired on Sunday Sept. 10, 2006 at 3:00 am EDT. See:
http://www.booktv.org/History/index.asp?segID=7137&schedID=449 
===========

See http://www.booktv.org/History/index.asp?segID=7137&schedID=448 for info on a talk by one of my favorite American Historians on his most recent book, which concerns the teaching of American History as part of World History.

During the  Q&A, Bender commented on the dilemma of high-stakes testing for history. On the one hand, a California testing official told him, if it’s not tested, then it won’t be taught; but on the other hand, if it is tested “You won’t like the kind of questions that will be on the test” (my paraphrase).

While I agree that there is a serious dilemma here, I want to take issue with the notion that history can or will really be taught (despite the bogus questions on the tests) if we do have high-stakes testing for this subject. Sure, there will be more time and resources devoted to teaching something that will be labeled “history,” but it won’t actually be history that is really being taught; i.e., it won’t be the teaching of real history as Bender understands and teaches it.

While other criticisms of high-stakes testing policies and practices certainly are valid and important, I think we need to do a better job of representing to the public and to policymakers how these programs undermine the real teaching of real subjects (including history and social studies).

What do you think? Feel free to disagree or comment below. Also, if I see that Bender’s talk is being re-aired on a later weekend, I will post an update on this page and you can use the RSS feed for this page [in grey box, above “Leave a Reply” below] to get a notification of this update in your own RSS reader.

On Saturday, September 2 at 1:15 pm and Monday, September 4 at 6:55 am EDT


A Nation Among Nations: America’s Place in World History
Thomas Bender                

Description: From the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Thomas Bender discusses his recent book, “A Nation Among Nations,” which criticizes Americans for ignoring the historical contributions of other countries. Mr. Bender examines how America’s concept of our exceptionalism has shaped America’s interpretation of history. During this presentation, Mr. Bender explores historical parallels between America and other nations around the world.

Author Bio: Thomas Bender is a professor of history at New York University and director of the International Center for Advanced Studies. Mr. Bender received his Ph.D. in 1971 at the University of California.

Publisher: HILL AND WANG 19 Union Square West New York, NY 10003

http://inside.c-spanarchives.org:8080/cspan/cspan.csp?command=dprogram&record=165444448

A Nation Among Nations: America’s Place in World History
Commonwealth Club of California
San Francisco, California (United States)
ID: 192710 05/22/2006 – 1:02 – $29.95

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  1. […] What do you think? Feel free to disagree or comment below. Also, if I see that Bender’s talk is being re-aired on a later weekend, I will post an update on this page and you can use the RSS feed for this page [in grey box, above “Leave a Reply” below] to get a notification of this update in your own RSS reader. […]

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