In response to Eugene Matusov’s article in this journal, Kritt addresses assumptions of the large-scale testing central to NCLB. Discussion of studies of urban kindergarten children that examine cognitive variability, including the assertion of ability, focuses on how this affects the student as a learner, as well as as a teacher. In contrast, Matusov questions root assumptions of schooling, casting engagement in socially valued activities as an issue of human rights. This view is criticized as overly socialized. It is argued that surface-level functioning in a cultural context is not sufficient for full participation in a democracy.

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