High-stakes Schooling: What We Can Learn From Japan's Experiences With Testing, Accountability, And…

Paperback | December 8, 2015

byChristopher Bjork

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If there is one thing that describes the trajectory of American education, it is this: more high-stakes testing. In the United States, the debates surrounding this trajectory can be so fierce that it feels like we are in uncharted waters. As Christopher Bjork reminds us in this study, however, we are not the first to make testing so central to education: Japan has been doing it for decades. Drawing on Japan’s experiences with testing, overtesting, and recent reforms to relax educational pressures, he sheds light on the best path forward for US schools.
           
Bjork asks a variety of important questions related to testing and reform: Does testing overburden students? Does it impede innovation and encourage conformity? Can a system anchored by examination be reshaped to nurture creativity and curiosity? How should any reforms be implemented by teachers? Each chapter explores questions like these with careful attention to the actual effects policies have had on schools in Japan and other Asian settings, and each draws direct parallels to issues that US schools currently face. Offering a wake-up call for American education, Bjork ultimately cautions that the accountability-driven practice of standardized testing might very well exacerbate the precise problems it is trying to solve. 

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If there is one thing that describes the trajectory of American education, it is this: more high-stakes testing. In the United States, the debates surrounding this trajectory can be so fierce that it feels like we are in uncharted waters. As Christopher Bjork reminds us in this study, however, we are not the first to make testing so ce...

Christopher Bjork is professor and the Dexter M. Ferry Chair of Education at Vassar College. He is the author of Indonesian Education and editor or coeditor of many other books, including Education and Training in Japan, Educational Decentralization, Taking Teaching Seriously, and Japanese Education in an Era of Globalization. 

other books by Christopher Bjork

Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:December 8, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022630941X

ISBN - 13:9780226309415

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Tables

ONE / Searching for Solutions
TWO / Framing the Education Crisis
THREE / Examining the Impact of Reform Polices
FOUR / The Teaching Force
FIVE / Nurturing Enthusiasm in Elementary School Students
SIX / Responses to Change in the Middle Schools
SEVEN / Curricular Reform, Academic Achievement, and Educational Opportunity
EIGHT / Shifting Student-Teacher Relationships
NINE / Broadening the Discussion
TEN / US Teachers Reflect on Japanese Elementary School Instruction
ELEVEN / Looking Forward

Epilogue Acknowledgments Notes References Index

Editorial Reviews

“The Japanese Ministry of Education enacted a series of reforms in 2002 that Bjork (education, Vassar College) calls ‘relaxed education.’ The school week was shortened. The teachers covered fewer concepts, and students could explore topics that interested them. Since the Japanese system had been built on rigorous testing, Bjork sought to understand whether the teachers and students could adjust, and whether educators in the US could learn from the experience. He spent a year in six schools in a medium-sized city in northern Japan interviewing administrators, teachers, students, and parents. He observed lessons, and he looked at reformed curricula. In the elementary school, the reforms improved student learning; however, the reforms exacerbated the differences in middle schools between achievement-oriented students and those who were less motivated. . . . Recommended.”