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Critically Speaking

Jan 26, 2022

Dr. Richard P. Phelps is founder of the Nonpartisan Education Group, editor of Nonpartisan Education Review (, a Fulbright Scholar, and fellow of the Psychophysics Laboratory. He has authored, or edited and co-authored Correcting Fallacies about Educational and Psychological Testing (APA); Standardized Testing Primer (Peter Lang); Defending Standardized Testing (Psychology Press); Kill the Messenger (Transaction), and several statistical compendia. Phelps has worked with several test development organizations, including ACT, AIR, ETS, the OECD, Pearson, and Westat. He holds degrees from Washington, Indiana, and Harvard Universities, and a PhD in Public Policy from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.


In this episode, Therese Markow and Dr. Richard Phelps discuss the education system in the United States, especially in comparison with Western Europe and other industrialized societies. They look at how Common Core, No Child Left Behind, and the changes to the SAT test have affected the curriculum, learning, and student preparedness both for further education as well as life after school. These trends in educational standards and standardized tests continue to impede our students compared to those of the industrialized world. Students from all levels and backgrounds are affected by these programs and the changes that need to be made are discussed.


 Key Takeaways:

  • The U.S. is falling behind other countries, even those with less spending on education.
  • Common Core and No Child Left Behind have caused progress to be lost in elementary and secondary education standards.
  • The SAT has become less of an aptitude test and more of an achievement test, and can discriminate against talented students from underrepresented groups that attended lower quality high schools.


"Most information is not on the world wide web, much of what is there is wrong, and search rankings are easily manipulated by money and interests." —  Dr. Richard Phelps


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Twitter: @CritiSpeak