“ The NCLB Act is the most significant attempt to date by the federal government to hold states and local school districts accountable for educating all of their students to high standards and to assure the effective use of federal Title 1 funds”
According to the American Educational Research Association (AERA), "The content of the test and the cognitive processes engaged in taking the test should adequately represent the curriculum. High-stakes tests should not be limited to that portion of the relevant curriculum that is easiest to measure" (AERA, 2000, para. 10).
Valli & Chambliss (2007) found specific examples of ‘test-centered’ classes using reading intervention goals and tasks primarily for training students to perform well on state assessments while the standard reading classes aimed at building on and connecting student knowledge to personal experiences and cultural backgrounds. Moreover, in reading intervention classes, students spent more time simply listening to teacher talk (32 percent vs. 13 percent) and were less likely to connect class work to real-life context or engage in meaningful discussion (23 percent vs. 5 percent).
Providing “high-quality hard data” of student performance, specifically showing areas of strength, weakness and promises
“ Without these data, schools cannot make appropriate decisions about curriculum quality or power of specific programs to enhance learning” (Nelson, Palonsky & McCarthy, 2010, p. 344).
Ability to determine a school’s ACCOUNTABILITY
Published test scores gauge the progression of student achievement across the nation thus providing competition and motivation for strengthening school curriculum and delivery (Nelson, Palonsky & McCarthy, 2010)
Regular assessments give the parents, teachers and students necessary measurements
“ Regular assessments, at input, throughput, and output stages of a student’s education, contribute a wealth of knowledge that educators can use effectively manage each student’s progress in scaffolding knowledge” (Wolf, 2007, p. 696).
Gunzenhauser (2003) uses one North Carolina school to illustrate the effects of high-stakes testing:
In order to devote more time for test preparation, the principal adopted a policy teachers called "90/90/60," in which instruction each day encompassed 90 minutes of reading, 90 minutes of math, and 60 minutes of writing, the only three areas of the curriculum tested in the state's elementary schools (Gunzenhauser & Noblit, 2001). Other subjects, including science, social studies, physical education, and the arts…vied for the remaining time in the school day. Test scores improved, and the school eventually lost its low performing label, but large portions of the state curriculum were left untaught (p. 55).
Lomax, West, Harmon, Viator & Madaus (1995) found that teachers of high-minority classes were more likely to state that their curriculum and assessment were greatly or somewhat influenced by mandated standardized tests and also reported engaging more in test preparation activities than did teachers of low minority classes (Lomax, West, Harmon, Viator & Madaus, 1995).
Elmore and Fuhrman (2001) found that in most schools pressured by high-stakes testing, teachers are working harder, spending more time, and exerting more effort in preparing students for testing. However, they contend, schools are not fundamentally improving what they are doing; instead they are devoting inordinate time to concern about students' scores and not enough time to students' learning.
Testing prevents students from slipping through the cracks enabling parents, teachers and administrators to pinpoint areas of need (Wolf, 2007)
Test taking skills are present in everyday life, students must be ready to handle these situations with confidence (Wolf, 2007)
Scores allow administrators and teachers to gauge the performance of students’ acceptance and effectiveness of the current curriculum
(Nelson, Palonsky & McCarthy, 2010)
Results are used to create change in the classroom, ultimately strengthening our educational system and international position
(Association of American Publishers, 2000)
“ Curriculum-based external exit examinations improve the signaling of academic achievement to colleges and the labor market and this increases extrinsic rewards for learning” (Bishop, 2004, p. 36)
Course Credits Graduates are Earning More Credits in Computer Related Studies, Fine Arts and Foreign Language Year of Graduation National Center for Education Statistics. (2007). The nation’s report card: America’s high school graduates—Results from the 2005 national assessment of educational progress high school transcript study . Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
ALL Grade Point Averages for High School Students Have Increased *Grade Point Average is based on a 4.0 scale Grade Point Average Graduating Year National Center for Education Statistics. (2007). The nation’s report card: America’s high school graduates—Results from the 2005 national assessment of educational progress high school transcript study . Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Percentage of High School Students Completing Mid to Above Level Curriculum Percentage Graduating Year National Center for Education Statistics. (2007). The nation’s report card: America’s high school graduates—Results from the 2005 national assessment of educational progress high school transcript study . Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. “ We find that Latinos differ from African American and White respondents regarding high-stakes testing because they tend to be more optimistic about government policies than either of the other racial groups” (Lay & Strokes-Brown, 2009, p. 444 )
Aldridge, J. & Goldman, R. (2007). Current issues and trends in education. New York: Pearson Education.
Association of American Publishers. (2000). Standardized assessment: A primer. Washington, DC: Association of American Publishers. Retrieved from http://www.aapschool.org/pdf/Testing%20Primer%20Revised.pdf
American Educational Research Association. (2000, July). AERA position on high stakes testing. Retrieved from http://www.aera.net/about/policy/stakes.htm
Bishop, J. H. (2004). Drinking from the fountain of knowledge: Student incentive to study and learn—externalities, information problems and peer pressure (CAHRS Working Paper #04-15). New York: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.
Public Broadcasting Service. (2008). Testing: No Child Left Behind. Episode Four [Internet Video]. Available from http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wherewestand/reports/testing-no-child-left-behind/video-report/27/
Elmore, R.F., & Fuhrman, S.H. (2001). Holding schools accountable: Is it working? Phi Delta Kappan, 83 , 67-72.
Gallagher, C. J. (2003). Reconciling a tradition of testing with a new learning paradigm. Educational Psychology Review, 15 (1), 83-99.
Gunzenhauser, M.G. (2003, Winter). High-Stakes Testing and the Default Philosophy of Education. Theory into Practice , 42 , 51-58.
Lay, J.C., & Stokes-Brown, A.K. (2004, May). Put to the test: Understanding differences in support for high-stakes testing. American Politics Research. 37 (4), 429-448.
Lomax, R. G., West, M. M., Harmon, M.C., Viator, K. A. & Madaus, G. F. (1995). The impact of mandated standardized testing on minority students. The Journal of Negro Education, 64 , 171-185.
National Center for Education Statistics. (2007). The nation’s report card: America’s high school graduates—Results from the 2005 national assessment of educational progress high school transcript study . Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Nelson, J.L., Palonsky, S., & McCarthy, M.R. (2010). Critical issues in education: Dialogues and dialectics. New York: McGraw Hill Higher Education.
United States Department of Education. (2010). National Assessment of Education Progress [Data set] . Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/naepdata/
Wolf, P. J. (2007). Academic improvement through regular assessment. Peabody Journal of Education, 82 (4), 690-702.
Valli, L. & Chambliss, M. (2007). Creating classroom cultures: One teacher, two lessons, and a high-stakes test. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 38, 57–75.