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The Will to Quantify: The “Bottom Line” in the Market Model of Education Reform


by Leo M. Casey — 2013

Background/Context: There is a deep and yawning chasm between the world of tests and testing practices as they ought to be and the actual tests and testing practices now imposed on American students, educators, and schools. That chasm of theory and practice is a function of the dominant paradigm of educational reform, with its theory of action that schools must be remade in the image and likeness of a corporation.

Purpose: To explore the role, development, and implications of assessment use in the market model of education reform.

Research Design: Analysis of the recent publication of the value-added measurements found in the Teacher Data Reports of the New York City Department of Education.

Conclusions: Since standardized tests provide data for a “bottom line,” they have been widely embraced in some circles as a basis for making “high stakes” decisions that hold individuals and schools accountable. In the market model of education reform, questions about the validity and reliability of the tests and of their use for “high stakes” decisions are dismissed as efforts to avoid accountability.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 115 Number 9, 2013, p. 1-7
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17107, Date Accessed: 10/21/2017 11:58:04 AM

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About the Author
  • Leo Casey
    Albert Shanker Institute
    LEO CASEY is Executive Director of the Albert Shanker Institute, a think tank affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. Previously, he served as Vice President for Academic High Schools for the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), New York City’s 200,000-person-strong teacher union. As Vice President, he taught a class in Global Studies every day at Bard High School Early College in Manhattan. Casey has won several awards for his teaching, and was named the National Social Studies Teacher of the Year by the American Teacher Awards in 1992. He has worked with teacher unions and teachers in Russia, Tanzania, and China on the development of civics education. Casey has written extensively on civics, education, unionism, and politics. Casey attended Antioch College in Ohio, the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and the University of Toronto in Canada, where he earned a Ph.D. in Political Philosophy.
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