ERIC Number: EJ1171943
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Caught in a Web of Abjection: High-Stakes Testing in Miriam Cohen's "First Grade Takes a Test" and Andrew Clements' "The Report Card"
Anderson, Anne W.
Children's Literature in Education, v49 n1 p19-33 Mar 2018
Standardized achievement testing of children began in the United States in the 1960s. Since then, the data produced from such tests has been extrapolated to measure schools, teachers, and principals. Today, testing and its corollaries consume much of the time and energy of teachers and students. Miriam Cohen's (2006/1980) "First Grade Takes a Test" and Andrew Clements' (2004) "The Report Card" invite young readers to question the purposes and validity of the tests they are required to take. Both authors clearly present the more insidious aspects of testing and question the tests' assumptions of normalcy, and each suggests the adults themselves are caught in the same web created by the agencies and institutions they serve. However, when read in the light of Kristeva's (1982/1980) descriptions of the abject as that which is on the border of identity, Cohen's and Clements' stories go further, raising the specter of a disturbing scenario involving an underlying and diabolical institutional mindset--a mind behind the test--that, through the guise of testing, blurs borders of identity, collapses meaning and perceptions of what is normal, and contributes to the resulting abjection of all participants, especially children identified as geniuses.
Descriptors: High Stakes Tests, Childrens Literature, Self Concept, Standardized Tests, Elementary School Students, Test Validity, Student Attitudes, Teaching Methods
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A