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1. Other shortcomings in the content standards are: arbitrariness, vagueness, enforcement of a particular pedagogy, and low content in K- 3 where the greatest opportunity for equity exists. On the plus side, the very openness of content standards makes them subject to improvement through experience and democratic debate. For all their flaws, they are far better for equity and quality than statewide skills-standards with high-stakes tests that encourage wasting huge amounts of school time in practicing narrow test-taking activities at the expense of education.

2. The intercorrelation of reading tests with each other form part of the technical literature accompanying the tests. Different tests published by a large company are often "equated" to the other reading tests or test components sold by the company. Researchers have found strong intercorrelations between reading scores on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (asvab) and the Armed Forces Qualification Test (afqt) on the one side and the various standardized reading tests such as Gates-Maginitie, Nelson-Denny, and The Stanford Tests of Academic Skills. The intercorrelations determined for reading-related skills range between .99 and .87-at the very limits of the reliability of the tests! See: B.K. Waters, J.D. Barnes, P. Foley, S. Steinhaus, D.C. Brown, Estimating the Reading Skills of Military Applicants: Development of an asvab to rlg Conversion Table, Human Resources Research Organization, Alexandria, Va., 1988.

3. Pierre Duhem, The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory, 1905.

4. Conrad, R. and Hull, A.J. (1964) "Information, Acoustic Confusion and Memory Span," British Journal of Psychology, 55, 429-432. Hintzman, D.L. (1967) "Articulatory Coding in Short-Term Memory," Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 6, 312-316, Naveh-Benjamin, M. and Ayres, J.T. "Digit Span, Reading Rate, and Linguistic Relativity," Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 38, 379-51. A general discussion of the underlying "phonological loop" is to be found in Baddeley, A. Human Memory: Theory and Practice, Allyn & Bacon, 1998, pp. 52-70, Needham, Mass.

5. For these precise correlations see Lubinski, D., and Humphreys, L.G., "Incorporating General Intelligence Into Epidemiology and the Social Sciences," Intelligence, 24 (1), pp. 159-201. In cognitive science the knowledge-competence principle has become so foundational that it has branched off into different specialties such as schema theory, and expert-novice studies. Experts learn new things faster than novices do because of the high accessibility of multiple points of reference and analogy. See, for instance, J. Larkin, et al., "Models of Competence in Solving Physics Problems," Cognitive Science, 4, (1980) 317-48. General discussions may be found in any textbook on cognitive psychology. See, for instance, pp. 125-143 in Baddeley, A. Human Memory: Theory and Practice, Allyn & Bacon, 1998.

6. See, for instance, E. Tulving, "The Effects of Presentation and Recall of Material in Free-Recall Learning." Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 5, 193-197. Baddeley, A. Human Memory: Theory and Practice, Allyn & Bacon, 1998, pp. 193-194.

7. Cunningham, Anne E. and Stanovich, Keith E., "Early Reading Acquisition and Its Relation to Reading Experience and Ability 10 Years Later," Developmental Psychology, v33 n6 pp. 934-45, Nov. 1997.

8. Lindblom-Ylanne, Sari and others, "Selecting Students for Medical School: What Predicts Success During Basic Science Studies? A Cognitive Approach." Higher Education, v31 n4 pp. 507-27, June 1996. Blai, Boris Jr., The Nelson-Denny Reading Test and Harcum-earned Academic Averages, Harcum Junior College, Bryn Mawr, Pa., June 1971. Gudan, Sirkka, The Nelson-Denny Reading Test as a Predictor of Academic Success in Selected Classes in a Specific Community College. Schoolcraft College, Livonia, Mich., Jan. 1983.

9. Scribner, B.L.S., Smith, D.A., Baldwin, R.H., and Phillips, R.L., "Are Smart Tankers Better? Afqt and Military Productivity," Armed Forces and Society, 12, 1986, pp.193-206; Horne, D., "The Impact of Soldier Quality on Army Performance," Armed Forces and Society, 13, 1987, pp. 443-445; Fernandez, J.C., "Soldier Quality and Job Performance in Team Tasks," Social Science Quarterly, 73, 1992, pp. 253-265, C. Jencks and M. Phillips, eds., The Black-White Test Score Gap, Brookings, Washington, DC, 1998, pp. 14-15, 75-76.

10. C. Jencks and M. Phillips, eds., The Black-White Test Score Gap, Brookings, Washington, DC, 1998, pp. 445, 489-94; Hofstetter, C. Richard, Sticht, Thomas G., Hofstetter, Carolyn Huie, "Knowledge, Literacy, and Power," Communication Research v26, Feb. 1999, pp. 58-80.

11. R. Erikson and J. Jonsson, eds., Can Education Be Equalized? The Swedish Case in Comparative Perspective, Westview Press, Boulder, Colo., 1996. For translated articles on France and data see:, link to preschool, link to "French Studies."

12. Bishop, John, Do Curriculum-Based External Exit Exam Systems Enhance Student Achievement?, Consortium for Policy Research in Education, Philadelphia, Pa., 1998. Bishop, John, "The Effect of Curriculum-Based External Exit Systems on Student Achievement." Journal of Economic Education, v29 n2, pp. 171-82, Spring 1998. Bishop, John, "Impacts of School Organization and Signalling on Incentives To Learn in France, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, and the United States." National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce, Philadelphia, Pa., Nov. 93. Bishop, John, "The Power of External Standards," American Educator, v19 n3, pp.10-14,17-18, 42-43, Fall 1995.

13. See the three-year Johns Hopkins study excerpted with graphs Level of curricular implementation predicts level of reading gain over three years at multiple sites.

14. Besides encouraging time-wasting skills-practice on narrow themes, state skills-tests offer no theoretical improvement whatever over ordinary competency based tests, which is what they essentially are. Although they do encourage everyone to work harder in a narrow range, they waste time on empty exercises which cause small gain in general competence and less in equity. They preserve the test-score gap between groups instead of narrowing it, because the biggest factor in the competency gap is a gap in general information, which can be narrowed only by a long-range, coherent focus on content. This is another illustration of the importance of basing policy on strong evidence and sound theory.

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