Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage How High-Stakes Testing Corrupts America's Schools

Sharon L. Nichols and David C. Berliner, foreword by Nel Noddings
Pub. Date: March 2007
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-080-5
paper, 252 Pages
Pub. Date: March 2007
ISBN-13: 978-1-891792-35-9
Price: $29.00

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Drawing on their extensive research, Nichols and Berliner document and categorize the ways that high-stakes testing threatens the purposes and ideals of the American education system.


Nichols and Berliner provide a hard-hitting and thoughtful critique of today’s overreliance on high-stakes testing. This is a must-read for anyone concerned about the unintended consequences of education reform. — Paul D. Houston, Executive Director, American Association of School Administrators

The cumulative impact of the accounts Nichols and Berliner lay out before us is staggering. They punch it home: The moral impact of NCLB may be as dangerous as its educational effects. — Deborah Meier, Senior Scholar, New York University

Collateral Damage delivers a healthy dose of hard truth. It should be required reading for policymakers and concerned citizens. — Jeannie Oakes, Presidential Professor and Director, UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access

Nichols and Berliner provide a carefully reasoned analysis laced with frightening accounts drawn from public schools. This readable volume eviscerates the premise that our schools can be evaluated with a single indicator. If you care about public schooling, this book is essential. — W. James Popham, Professor Emeritus, UCLA

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About the Author

Sharon L. Nichols is an assistant professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is also a consulting editor for the Journal of Experimental Education, and for the last three years she has served as chair of the Adolescence Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association. Nichols’s current work focuses on how the pressure of high-stakes testing affects novice and veteran teachers. She previously received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Educational Policy Studies Laboratory at Arizona State University to engage in research on high-stakes testing. There she was instrumental in producing technical reports on the impact of highstakes testing on teachers, students, and schools. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bucknell University and a master’s and doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Her doctoral studies focused on adolescent motivation in middle school contexts. Nichols has authored over a dozen publications related to youth development and motivation and educational policy. She is coauthor of America’s Teenagers—Myths and Realities: Media Images, Schooling, and the Social Costs of Careless Indifference (with T. L. Good).

David C. Berliner is a Regents’ Professor of Education at Arizona State University. Berliner spent much of his career studying teaching and teacher education, and his current research interest is in educational policy. His research has won him the Brock International Prize for educational research; the distinguished contributions award and the best book award from the American Educational Research Association; the E. L. Thorndike Award for lifetime contributions from the American Psychological Association; the Friend of Education award from the National Education Association; and the Medal of Achievement from the University of Helsinki. He is a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences; a member of the National Academy of Education; and past president of the American Educational Research Association and the Division of Educational Psychology of the American Psychological Association. He was previously dean of the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State University. Berliner earned his bachelor’s degree from UCLA, his master’s from California State University at Los Angeles, and his doctorate from Stanford University; he also holds a doctorate in humane letters, honoris causa. His recent authored and edited works include The Manufactured Crisis (with B. J. Biddle), Educational Psychology (6th ed., with N. L. Gage), Putting Research to Work in Your Schools (with U. Casanova), and The Handbook of Educational Psychology (with R. C. Calfee). Recent journal articles have appeared in Teachers College Record; Educational Policy Analysis Archives; Bulletin of Science, Technology, and Society; and Educational Researcher.

David Berliner receives 2008 Sylvia Scribner Award

E-book available through online booksellers

Preface (PDF)

Excerpt from the Introduction (PDF)

Table of Contents

"High-Stakes Testing and the Corruption of America's Schools" in Harvard Education Letter

Recent Reviews of Collateral Damage

About the Authors

David Berliner on "Why Rising Test Scores May Not Equal Increased Student Learning"

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