Drexel dragonThe Math ForumDonate to the Math Forum



Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by Drexel University or The Math Forum.


Math Forum » Discussions » Inactive » MEME

Topic: High Stakes Testing Study
Replies: 2   Last Post: May 16, 2002 9:35 PM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
Nancy Buell

Posts: 8
Registered: 12/3/04
High Stakes Testing Study
Posted: May 6, 2002 12:10 AM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

High-Stakes Testing, Uncertainty, and Student Learning

Audrey L. Amrein

Arizona State University

David C. Berliner

Arizona State University



Citation: Amrein, A.L. & Berliner, D.C. (2002, March 28). High-stakes

testing, uncertainty, and student learning Education Policy Analysis

Archives, 10(18).



Full study available at http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v10n18/.





Abstract

A brief history of high-stakes testing is followed by an analysis of

eighteen states with severe consequences attached to their testing

programs. These 18 states were examined to see if their high-stakes

testing

programs were affecting student learning, the intended outcome of

high-stakes testing policies promoted throughout the nation. Scores on
the

individual tests that states use were not analyzed for evidence of

learning. Such scores are easily manipulated through test-preparation

programs, narrow curricula focus, exclusion of certain students, and
so

forth. Student learning was measured by means of additional tests
covering

some of the same domain as each state's own high-stakes test. The
question

asked was whether transfer to these domains occurs as a function of a

state's high-stakes testing program.

Four separate standardized and commonly used tests that overlap the
same

domain as state tests were examined: the ACT, SAT, NAEP and AP tests.

Archival time series were used to examine the effects of each state's

high-stakes testing program on each of these different measures of

transfer. If scores on the transfer measures went up as a function of
a

state's imposition of a high-stakes test we considered that evidence
of

student learning in the domain and support for the belief that the
state's

high-stakes testing policy was promoting transfer, as intended.

The uncertainty principle is used to interpret these data. That
principle

states "The more important that any quantitative social indicator
becomes

in social decision-making, the more likely it will be to distort and

corrupt the social process it is intended to monitor." Analyses of
these

data reveal that if the intended goal of high-stakes testing policy is
to

increase student learning, then that policy is not working. While a

state's

high-stakes test may show increased scores, there is little support in
these data that such increases are anything but the result of test

preparation and/or the exclusion of students from the testing process.
These distortions, we argue, are predicted by the uncertainty
principle.

The success of a high-stakes testing policy is whether it affects
student

learning, not whether it can increase student scores on a particular
test.

If student learning is not affected, the validity of a state's test is
in

question.

Evidence from this study of 18 states with high-stakes tests is that
in

all

but one analysis, student learning is indeterminate, remains at the
same

level it was before the policy was implemented, or actually goes down
when

high-stakes testing policies are instituted. Because clear evidence
for

increased student learning is not found, and because there are
numerous

reports of unintended consequences associated with high-stakes testing
policies (increased drop-out rates, teachers' and schools' cheating on
exams, teachers' defection from the profession, all predicted by the

uncertainly principle), it is concluded that there is need for debate
and

transformation of current high-stakes testing policies.

The authors wish to thank the Rockefeller Foundation for support of
the

research reported here. The views expressed are those of the authors
and

do

not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Rockefeller

Foundation.





Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© Drexel University 1994-2014. All Rights Reserved.
The Math Forum is a research and educational enterprise of the Drexel University School of Education.