High Stakes testing is the is the result of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)High Stakes testing are standardized tests with vital consequences attached to them.Standardized testing is when all students take the same test, with the same questions, under equal conditions and their answers are scored the same way
The hope is that these tests will cause teachers to work more effectively, students will be more motivated and schools will run more effortlessly.After which the result should be a greater academic achievement for all student, especially those coming from poverty and minority backgrounds.
Students and teachers feel the pressures of these tests and then end up taking drastic measures to ensure they do well.Students caught cheating on the test or manipulating the data.Teachers narrow their curriculum and only teach to the test. More students tend to be retained in a grade or drop out because of these tests.Some of these tests are so heavily weighted that they determine whether a student will graduate. Currently, 17 states require students to pass a standardized test to complete high school and gradate. Seven more states are planning similar requirements.
Test anxiety and students who do not perform well on tests may not demonstrate what they have learned accurately on a standardized test, resulting in lower scores.Poorly-funded schools, large class sizes, insufficient materials and resources don’t give students a fair chance. Students with a learning disability, students who do not speak English as a first language or students who attend vocational school fail these tests more than mainstream students. When the system fails the students are being punished for things they cannot control.
High Stakes Testing leads to amplified grade retention and dropout rates. Grade retention has been proven unproductive.Students who are held back a grade do not progress academically, they suffer a loss of self-esteem and could be emotionally damaged, and they lose interest in school and are more likely to drop out. Students who face a graduation test tend to have a higher dropout rate, especially for those students who are comparatively low achievers in school.
Teachers are feeling the pressures of these high stakes tests just as much as students.The higher the stakes the more the schools and teachers focus on the subject matter of these tests.As a result, any subject not on the test is not taught, whole subjects may be dropped from the curriculum.Reading consists of short passages with multiple choice answers at the end (which does not exists in the real world) Teachers are being taught to be “test coaches” instead of good teachers. Teaching to the test often creates an undesired classroom climate and style of teaching that discourages students from learning. Many important topics are not covered on these tests because they cannot be measured appropriately with these tests.
These tests are generally supported by the public because they are led to believe that the tests increase productivity in school systems, however the scores are highly misleading. Teaching to the test causes scores to go up but those scores do not show actually learning improvement. This leads the public to believe that schools are improving when they may actually be doing worse. Standardize testing does not include non-academic areas in school.Test results do not take into account non-school related factors such as poverty, hunger, student mobility, and lack of medical care, safety, community resources and parent’s education.
Test, along with grades and teacher evaluations are a useful way to measure a student’s progress, abilities and knowledge. Tests should be included in the education system but not be the entire system.If a school is going to use a test to determine whether a student moves on in school or gets to graduate they must ensure that all students, especially racial and ethnic minorities, disabled or students with limited English speaking skills are treated fairly and given the same opportunities. No one test should determine a student’s future-one test will not accurately assess an entire year of progress.
Tests can be a good thing when used appropriately.They are the most resourceful way to obtain information about what a student has or has not learned.A test that is written to measure the knowledge of a student should not be used to measure the quality of a school system or the performance of a teacher.A decision about a student’s educational future (retention, tracking, graduation) should not be based on a single test score.For tests that do determine a student’s promotion to the next grade or whether or not they will gradate, the student should be given multiple chances to take the test.When a test is mandated the ways in which the results will be used should be clearly explained to students and parents. Special arraignments should be made for students with limited English skills; the student should be tested on their ability to communicate in English instead of other unnecessary skills. Special accommodations should be made for students with disabilities.
High Stakes Standardize Testing<br />The Damages they Cause in our Schools<br />By: Katie Keck<br />
What is high stakes testing?<br />Result of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)<br />Standardized with vital consequences attached.<br />All students take the same test<br />Same questions<br />Equal conditions<br />Scored the same way<br />Photo By: The Master Shake Signal<br />
The Purpose<br />Teachers will work more effectively<br />Students will be more motivated<br />Schools will run more smoothly<br />Academic achievement will be greater<br />Benefits minority student and student from poverty.<br />
The Downfalls<br />Teachers/students feel pressure to do well<br />Student are caught cheating<br />Teachers teach to the test<br />More students drop out or get held back<br />Many tests are too heavily weighted <br />Some states require students to pass a standardized test to graduate now<br />
Unfair to Students <br />Test anxiety equals lower and inaccurate results<br />Poorly funded schools don’t get a fair chance<br />Students with learning disabilities fail more than mainstream kids.<br />Students have no control over a failing system<br />Photo By: minor9th<br />
Grade retention and drop out rates<br />Amplified grade retention and drop out rates<br />Grade retention is counterproductive<br />Student that are held back lose interest in learning and are more likely to drop out<br />Student who are faced with a standardized test for graduation are more likely to drop out.<br />
Teaching to the test<br />Teachers are under pressure like students<br />Teachers focus on what is on the test and nothing else<br />Many subjects are ignored and not taught<br />Reading on high stakes tests are not realistic <br />Teachers are being trained to be “test coaches”<br />Teaching to the test discourages students from learning.<br />Photo By: Chicago 2016 Photos <br />
Tests and the Misinformed Public <br />Public supports testing because of misleading results<br />Teaching to the test gives inaccurate scores<br />Public believes schools are improving when they are not<br />Testing does not include non-academic areas<br />Test results do not take into account non-school related factors.<br />
How to Measure Success <br />All factors, including tests should be taken into consideration<br />Tests should be a part of the system not the entire system<br />Make testing fair to all students who take them<br />Fair opportunities to everyone<br />One test should not determine a student’s academic future<br />Photo by: Rennett Stowe <br />
Appropriate Ways to Test<br />Testing can be a good thing<br />Most resourceful way to obtain information<br />A test should not measure a school or teachers performance<br />A student’s future should not be based on a test score<br />The purpose of the test results should be stated clearly<br />Special arrangements should be made for students with special needs<br />Students should be tested on necessary skills.<br />
Resources <br />Haladyna, T. M. (2006). Perils of Standardized Achievement Testing. Educational Horizons. 85(1), 30-43.<br />Neill, M. (2006). Preparing Teachers to Beat the Agonies of NCLB. The Education Digest. 71(8), 8-12.<br />Nichols, S. L., & Berliner, D. C. (2008). Why Has High Stakes Testing So Easily Slipped into Contemporary American Life? The Education Digest. 74(4), 41-7.<br />www.flickr.com<br />