Patrice Brodeur

This book is a most timely solution to a long standing debate about the role of testing in education, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have highlighted beyond any doubt the unequal and unsustainable nature of most public and private educational structures worldwide. In Beyond the Tyranny of Testing, distinguished scholar Kenneth J. Gergen joins forces with younger theoretician Scherto R. Gill to show an exemplary interdisciplinary collaboration that provides a creative way out of this age-old debate, which affects the vast majority of primary and secondary schools worldwide: they boldly suggest a new third way beyond, on the one hand, the authoritarian tyranny of testing and, on the other hand, the laissez-faire approach of libertarian education theories that eliminate testing all together.

Cogently arguing for a vision of education as relational process, they deduce that evaluation is, in fact, central to the learning process but only when it is conducted in a relation-centred manner. Through this new perspective, based on solid empirical evidence, emerges the foundational part that relational evaluation carries in bringing into the collaboration amongst the learners, teachers, parents, school administrators, and school evaluators, as well as education policy makers at different levels of political governance.

Fully inclusive and equitable learning communities can flourish only when attention and care is given to nurture the relational process at the heart of education in general, and especially in its evaluation dimensions. With this new focus in mind and at heart, Gergen and Gill convincingly envision the deeper and more sustainable long-term systemic educational transformation urgently needed today to humanise all those involved in learning communities worldwide. Their book brilliantly provides an innovative theoretical foundation essential for building more inclusive and equitable societies glocally.

— Patrice Brodeur (PhD), Associate Professor, Institute of Religious Studies, University of Montreal; Senior Adviser, International Dialogue Centre, Vienna, Austria, and co-author of Religion as a Conversation Starter (Bloomsbury, 2009)

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