This book challenges traditional, sanctioned, and official histories of reading comprehension by examining how ideological and cultural hegemony work to reproduce dominant ideologies through education in general and reading comprehension research and testing specifically. Willis analyzes the ideological and cultural foundations that underpin concepts, theories, research, tests, and interpretations, and connects these to the broader social and political contexts within U.S. history in which reading comprehension research and testing have evolved. The reconstruction of a history of reading comprehension research and testing in this way demystifies past and current assumptions about the interconnections among researchers, reading comprehension research, and standardized reading comprehension tests. A promising vision of the future of reading comprehension research and testing emerges–one that is more complex, multidimensional, inclusive, and socially just.
Reading Comprehension Research and Testing in the U.S. aims to revolutionize how reading comprehension is conceived, theorized, tested, and interpreted for all children. This is a critically relevant volume for educational researchers, teacher educators, school administrators, teachers, policy makers, and all those concerned with school literacy and educational equity.
"Willis’ argument is systematic, thorough and well documented…. [Her] purpose is clear. She outlines her goal of showing throughout the eight thoughtfully laid out chapters that racism, scientism, and classism are all components of western philosophical assumptions that underpin much of the research on reading comprehension and testing…. This book will be of interest to educators at all levels, but especially researchers in educational psychology, or assessment and achievement. It should be of particular interest to those who work in educational governance and a priority for anyone who is currently addressing differences in achievement based on race and class." --Margaret-Mary McGivern, Education Review, May 14, 2008
"Willis does an excellent job chronicling the history of the various Western educational philosophies from behaviorism, cognitive science, and constructivism, including how these philosophies have been used to develop reading curricula that fail to increase reading and comprehension rates among many learners…[This] is an important book for educators, scholars, designers of reading curricula, parents and politicians to understand how ideological history has not taught many American children to read and that a new perspective, pedagogy, and paradigm must be created to educate the future generations of American children."--Eric M. Bridges, PsycCritiques (April 2009), Vol. 54, No. 15
Contents: Preface. Introduction. Western European Philosophical Foundations of Reading Comprehension Research and Testing. Ideological and Philosophical Foundations of Reading Comprehension Research and Testing. Reservoir of Themes and Premises: Social Influences of Early Concepts of Reading Comprehension. Producing Early Reading Comprehension Research and Testing. World War I and the Development of Reading Comprehension and Testing. Reproducing and Producing Reading Comprehension Research and Testing. Reading Comprehension Research and Testing Reinvents Itself. Federal Involvement in Reading Comprehension Research and Testing.