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National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Occasional Paper    

OP 38. School Reform through Examinations: Lessons from the British Experience

By Sarah Warshauer Freedman

Summary: Recent calls for national achievement examinations for American students appear to be modeled on the British examination system. In this paper, Freedman considers the effects of the British examination system on what and how students learn in one area of the curriculum, English language and literature. She presents evidence that suggests that a system of high-stakes examinations, even well-designed performance-based examinations, presents a flawed foundation on which to build an educational reform movement. She further argues that a stronger foundation for educational reform will likely come through working with teachers and school administrators to rethink and reshape the curriculum as well as the organization of the school, with testing following from, not leading the reform effort. June, 1994; 12 pages.

OP 38. School Reform through Examinations: Lessons from the British Experience
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