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Objectifying Measures: The Dominance of High-Stakes Testing and the Politics of Schooling


reviewed by Kara S. Finnigan — November 30, 2009

coverTitle: Objectifying Measures: The Dominance of High-Stakes Testing and the Politics of Schooling
Author(s): Amanda Walker Johnson
Publisher: Temple University Press, Philadelphia
ISBN: 1592139051, Pages: 224, Year: 2009
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As the debate about high-stakes accountability policies, including the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), becomes widespread, stopping to consider the statistical discourse that comprise these debates, as well as the underlying politics guiding this discourse is worthwhile.  Amanda Walker Johnson attempts to do just that in her recent book, Objectifying Measures: The Dominance of High-Stakes Testing and the Politics of Schooling.  Focusing on high-stakes testing policies in Texas, particularly those requiring students to take a standardized test to be promoted or graduate, Johnson argues that the statistical discourse around these tests “objectify” students, reducing them to numbers to manipulate.  Johnson’s purpose in writing this ethnographic study is to examine the historical and political context of the testing movement in Texas, as well as consider the forms of knowledge production that serve to reinforce the testing regime.   As an anthropologist, Johnson provides a distinct perspective on this topic.  She contends... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: November 30, 2009
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15850, Date Accessed: 4/23/2017 1:36:43 AM

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About the Author
  • Kara Finnigan
    University of Rochester
    E-mail Author
    KARA S. FINNIGAN is an Assistant Professor of Educational Policy at the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education. Her current research focuses on schools and districts under accountability policy sanctions and interdistrict choice.
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