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High School


Error: Issue section abstract not found. What the Research Says -- Assessment/High Stakes MS Word - The issue of high-stakes assessment is a complicated one, with many factors influencing methods and results. This Highlights document summarizes the research and results of seven studies completed on various aspects of assessment....

High-Stakes Testing Systems MS Word - Why shouldn’t pupils be held accountable for learning what they are purported to have learned during a given school year, or by a certain milestone in their school careers? The proposition, however, is not quite as artless and simple as it may appear. Various "stress points" in the system may cause students, parents and the public to doubt the validity of assessment and accountability systems, and backlash to rise against testing and state and local accountability programs. This issue brief looks at those stress points, some of the reactions to them and at some challenges states are facing. (Jennifer Dounay, Education Commission of the States, March 2000)...

Many States Tie High School Diploma to Exams MS Word - In order to increase the numbers of well-prepared young adults, nearly all states have set standards that describe what students should know and be able to do. This is an article from the Fall 2000 ECS State Education Leader....

State Education Leader (Winter 2000), High-Stakes Testing: Too Much? Too Soon? MS Word - Are high-stakes tests for students worthwhile? Is the controversy likely to derail the standards movement? Across the nation, state and district leaders more and more are using test results to make decisions about promotion and graduation. This issue of ECS' periodical looks at the pros and cons, what states are doing, the effects on teacher education and other issues in the controversy around high-stakes testing. (State Education Leader, Education Commission of the States, vol. 18, no. 1, Winter 2000, 20 pages)...

Do Graduation Tests Measure Up? A Closer Look at State High School Exit Exams - After a detailed analysis of the mathematics and English language arts exams in Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas, Achieve reached three conclusions. First, it is perfectly reasonable to expect high school graduates to pass these tests — they are not overly demanding. Second, these exams should be strengthened over time to better measure the knowledge and skills high school graduates need to succeed in the real world. Third, states should not rely exclusively on these tests to measure everything that matters in a young person's education. Over time, states will need to develop a more comprehensive set of measures beyond on-demand graduation tests. (Achieve, Inc., 2004)...

Reconsidering the Impact of High-stakes Testing - Two notable 2002 reports by Amrein and Berliner purported to show that there was no correlation between high-stakes testing and improved student performance. The focus of this paper, by Henry Braun, is to reanalyze the same data -- focusing on the NAEP mathematics scores -- to determine the accuracy of the previous reports’ conclusions. Braun’s report identifies two ways to interpret the data, each resulting in a separate, contradictory conclusion. The first method, which he refers to as "pseudo-longitudinal analysis", measures a single cohort of students and tends to argue against high-stakes testing as a more effective strategy than low-stakes testing. The Amrein and Berliner reports focus on this interpretation. However, use of a cross sectional analysis indicates that high-stakes testing raised student achievement, based on gains made in states that have implemented high-stakes testing when compared to the nation as a whole. (Henry Braun, Educational Testing Service, January 2004)...

A New Vision of Authentic Assessment To Overcome the Flaws in High Stakes Testing - While acknowledging the disparity between suburban and urban/rural schools in quality of instruction and other factors before the standards and assessment movement of the 1990s, the author suggests the movement “can also reinforce and amplify the current inequities that pervade public education.” He presents a literature review questioning the fairness, validity and reliability of assessments and assessment-based accountability systems, and cites examples in which such systems have narrowed the curriculum. He also questions what the public desires for the public school system, and proposes “a new vision of assessment” in which local assessments serve a diagnostic purpose. (Dan French, Middle School Journal, National Middle School Association, September 2003)...

High-Stakes Research - The authors challenge the findings of the study published by Audrey Amrein and David Berliner that claimed to find no correlation between states' high-stakes test scores and their NAEP scores over the same period of time. Raymond and Hanushek argue that the researchers did not apply sound statistical practices, and reported results in a manner slanted to disparage states' use of high-stakes assessments. The authors also present the results of their own analysis of states' NAEP and high-stakes test scores, which report a positive relationship between states' results on NAEP and high-stakes assessments. Shopping for Evidence Against School Accountability is the full report on Raymond and Hanushek's reanalysis of the data used by Amrein and Berliner (Margaret E. Raymond and Eric A. Hanushek, Education Next, Summer 2003)...

Perceived Effects of State-Mandated Testing Programs on Teaching and Learning: Findings from Interviews with Educators in Low-, Medium-, and High-Stakes States - The fruit of interviews with 360 educators in Kansas, Michigan and Massachusetts, the findings shed light on the effects of the state standards and the state test on classroom practice, as well as the effects of the state test on students. Eight state policy recommendations are made on the basis of the report’s findings. The authors report that they “found no clear overall relationship between the level of the stakes attached to the state test and the influence of the state standards on classroom practice.” In all three states, a number of factors were found to influence the degree to which state standards affected classroom practice, though in all three states, “preparing for the state test had changed teachers’ instructional and assessment strategies.” (Marguerite Clarke, Arnold Shore, Kathleen Rhoades, Lisa Abrams, Jing Miao and Jie Li, Lynch School of Education, Boston College, January 2003)...

Testing High Stakes Tests: Can We Believe the Results of Accountability Tests? - According to this report, high-stakes tests can accurately reflect student achievement and are not distorted by "teaching to the test" or other forms of manipulation. This study, however, also finds high-stakes tests are less effective in measuring a school's impact on student performance from year to year. (Jay P. Greene, Marcus A. Winters and Greg Forster, The Manhattan Institute, February 2003) ...

Do High Stakes Tests Drive Up Student Dropout Rates? - This brief proposes that the current focus on high-stakes testing per se is too narrow. More relevant is the impact of standards-based reform writ large, which includes the adoption of statewide accountability systems intended to give it clout. How is this broad reform effort, especially the adoption of "rigorous," "world-class" academic standards, affecting the education experiences of borderline pupils -- those most at risk of academic failure? This brief identifies data collection problems and research limitations that must be addressed before that question can be answered. It also makes recommendations regarding the implementation of accountability systems to better ensure that they fairly serve all students. (Stanley N. Rabinowitz, Joy Zimmerman, Kerry Sherman, WestEd, 2001)...

High Stakes Testing and High School Completion - In this report, the National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy (NBETPP) examines the effect of high stakes testing on dropout rates. While the board found the assessments to have a negative influence on high school completion, they recommend further research to track attrition patterns for different student groups and to obtain more detailed data from interviews with students who drop out. (NBETPP, January 2000)...

The High Stakes of High-Stakes Testing - The benefits and concerns about high-stakes testing as the centerpiece of new accountability systems are addressed in this policy brief. In addition, the article offers recommendations for policymakers seeking to incorporate these tests into state accountability systems. (WestEd, February 2000)...

The Sting of High-Stakes Testing and Accountability MS Word - The author compares the history of minimum-competency testing with the current wave of high-stakes assessment and accountability and speculates whether high stakes will lead to school finance suits based on the inadequacy of the education provided. "The high-stakes 'bee' released from the hive by the current group of policymakers could just circle back and sting them with consequences much bigger than anyone could imagine," he writes. (Reprinted with permission from Phi Delta Kappan, May 2000)...

High Stakes: Testing for Tracking, Promotion and Graduation MS Word - To ensure high-stakes education tests are used fairly and properly, Congress asked the National Research Council to conduct a study and make recommendations regarding use of such tests. A committee looked at how high-stakes tests are used, why students perform in certain ways, and whether placement or other decisions resulting from such tests are appropriate. It recommended that policymakers keep four principles of appropriate test use in mind: (1) use the right test for the right purpose; (2) remember tests are not perfect; (3)don't use a test as the only determinant of a major decision; and (4) don't justify bad decisions with a test score or any other kind of information. (National Research Council, 1999)...


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