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. 

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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

"Christopher Bjork has written an important book that reflects his long experience with fieldwork and Japanese education, as well as reporting on his most recent research. It is at once steeped in expertise and innovative....[T]he insights he draws from his research, as well as the broader implications he points to, make this a book that scholars who focus on the transformation of education systems will find very interesting....[A] terrific update on teaching practice and its relationship to national policy in contemporary Japan presented by a skilled researcher and thoughtful scholar."