Standardized Testing: An Imperial Legacy of the Modern Middle East
Hilary Kalisman

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Colorado Boulder

Primary Discipline

This project investigates one of the most durable, pervasive, and understudied legacies of British imperialism in the Middle East: school examinations. "Standardized Testing: An Imperial Legacy of the Modern Middle East"? uses Britain's Middle Eastern mandates to underscore the colonial origins of standardized testing and its perceived value as a universalizing measure of proficiency. It argues that the mandate governments viewed testing as a means of suppressing antiimperial politics. Locals fought to keep and expand the tests, viewing exams as an international metric of academic prowess and often intelligence. This project shows how educational methods become globalized, and how local tensions and agreements regarding imperial policies shaped knowledge and subject formation.
About Hilary Kalisman
Hilary Falb Kalisman is an Assistant Professor of History and Endowed Professor of Israel/Palestine Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research interests include education, colonialism, state and nation building in Israel/Palestine as well as in the broader Middle East. Her first book manuscript, ?Schooling the State: Education in the Modern Middle East? uses a collective biography of thousands of public school teachers across Israel/Palestine, Iraq and Transjordan/Jordan to trace how the arc of teachers? professionalization correlated with their political activity, while undermining correspondence between nations, nationalism and governments across the region. She has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Academy of Education, the American Academic Institute in Iraq as well as the International Institute of Education, among other organizations. Dr. Kalisman has recently published articles in The Jerusalem Quarterly and Histoire De l?éducation. She holds a B.A. from Brown University and a Ph.D. from the University of California Berkeley.

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