“Why is it,” writes noted assessment expert W. James Popham, “that today’s educators seem almost compelled to replicate their predecessors’ blunders?” Looking back over a career of more than fifty years in education, Popham identifies six key “unlearned lessons” in education and reflects on their impact on schools, teachers, and students.
Notable Education Book of 2009, American School Board Journal
In an account enlivened by personal anecdotes and the unique perspective gained from long experience, he shows how each of these six mistakes has persisted over time, gives examples of encounters with these mistakes in the course of his professional career, and points the way toward straightforward solutions. This lucid and powerful book belongs on the bookshelf of anyone interested in the history of education and the intersection between assessment, policy, and instruction.
Popham shares the wisdom gained from a lifetime in education and assessment. He reminds us, with humor and clear examples, that there are ways to build accountability systems that do not lead to excessive test preparation, teaching to the test, or attempts to cover curricula more rapidly than is sensible. Unlearned Lessons helps us to see the folly of repeating our errors again and again. — David C. Berliner, Regents’ Professor, College Of Education, Arizona State University
A wise and witty analysis of six obstacles to better schools from one of the nation’s foremost testing experts. Popham identifies persistent flaws in the way we approach education—and shows how to fix them. Anyone frustrated by the current wave of test-driven reforms will enjoy this guide to bringing more sense to schooling. — Jack Jennings, president and CEO, Center on Education Policy
Given all that has been written about what ails American education and how to fix it, seldom are the problems and possible solutions captured so cogently, and in terms everyone can appreciate. There is much here that demands careful attention by educators and policymakers alike. — Jim Pellegrino, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Education, University of Illinois at Chicago