Campbell’s Law & Standardized Testing

 The Treehorn Express

Let’s not forget Treehorn :

Previous issues: Check Recent Posts and Archives in sidebar.

 “None of the adults are much help.” said Treehorn while he was shrinking……almost as fast as our school curriculum and pupils’ learning habits.

Hang in there, Treehorn.  Let’s all try to “Light up the darkness, keep the faith. and give the bastards the business.” [John Gatto]


Brian Cambourne, author of The Whole Story : Natural Learning and the Acquisition of Literacy in which he highlights the  ‘Conditions of Learning’ wrote recently in Inquiry Literacy :-

Campbell’s Law and Standardized Testing

“Today I wish to draw your attention to a well-known [but not well-known enough] social science law called Campbell’s Law. Here is an excerpt from a book by David Berliner and Sharon Nichols:

Campbell’s Law stipulates that ‘the more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it was intended to monitor.’

Campbell warned us of the inevitable problems associated with undue weight and emphasis on a single indicator for monitoring complex social phenomena. In effect he warned us about the high-stakes testing program that is part and parcel of No Child Left Behind.”  [cf NAPLAN in Australia]

I’ve come to identify Campbell’s Law as high stakes testing kryptonite .”

Brian, I hope that it kicks in, real soon.



Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point  2486

07 5524 6443



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