The Benefits and Backlashes of High-Stakes Testing
What if the determining factor of whether or not you would be successful or a failure in life was solely based on the results of one test. Regardless of all the progress you have accomplished over your life, it all comes down to this big moment, the big test! That is the reality many students face annually due to high-stakes testing. High-stakes testing is the use of a summative test or an assessment to make decisions that are of prominent educational, financial, or social impact (Kubiszyn & Borich, 2013). Decisions such as graduation/grade promotion, school/state funding, or even job placement or termination.
Many critics of high-stakes testing believe that these test cause teachers to teach to the test. Pedulla, Abrams, Madaus, Russell, Ramos, and Miao (as cited in Madaus & Russell, 2010) found in a national survey that 80 percent of teachers admitted to increasing time spent on subjects that are tested on. These critics also believe that test scores increase as a result of placing sole focus on the test and revolving curriculum and instruction around the specific high-stakes test of that school. I do not agree completely agree with the statement that test scores increase as a result of teachers teaching to the test. It is unfair to say that since the vast majority of teachers are teaching to the test, that all other teachers are also doing the same. Sometimes increased test scores are a direct result of the hard work of
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Throughout high school and college we will go through a vast amount of testing but why? Testing is used to show a person’s amount of knowledge on a particular subject. Usually it’s for one specific subject and not a majority of them, standardized tests administered in schools today include all testable subjects as in English, Math, Science, Writing, and Reading. However, before we can all take the next step and begin our college careers, we have to take one of two tests, the ACT or the SAT. These two exams demine the college you get into, the amount of scholarships you will receive, and even whether or not your will be accepted into said college, all determined by the score you receive.
High Stakes Testing has been overly integrated in the education systems. High-stakes testing are used to determine grade retention, school curriculum, and whether or not students will receive a high school diploma (Myers, 2015). Since the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001, high stakes testing has become the norm and mandating that students must pass a standardized test before moving up in grade. As a special education director, the focus is to ensure the student’s accommodations are being followed. Accommodations help increase students’ academic performance. “Both the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004 and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) call for students with disabilities to participate in the general education curriculum and in testing programs to the maximum extent possible for each student (Luke and Schwartz, 2010).” Throughout the years, high stakes testing is becoming more common than ever before. The reality is high stakes testing is one indicator in evaluating children with specific needs. This paper will discuss, the violation of the statutory language regarding assessment based on IDEA, the strategies and goals of a remediation, staff training, common Core and PARCC assessment, and funding for the remediation plan under IDEA.
There is a flip side to this though. Levitt makes note that people will try hard, if not harder, to cheat, rather than follow the rules, when he says, “Whatever the incentive, whatever the situation, dishonest people will try to gain an advantage by whatever means necessary.” If it is assumed that every student is a dedicated student, who is determined to pass the standardized test, then the idea that high-stake testing would motivate students to study more would be true. But let’s be honest, not every student is willing to put in extra time outside of the classroom to prepare for exams. The same type of thing applies to teachers; not every teacher is going to abide by the state standards and teach their students properly according to the curriculum. This is one of the reason cheaters exist. They want something for nothing. They want to sit back and put in little to no effort, but still have success to show for
“According to a review of testing research that has been conducted over the past century, over 90% of students have found that standardized tests have a positive effect on their achievement. Students feel better about their ability to comprehend and know subject materials that are presented on a standardized test. Even if a perfect score isn’t achieved, knowing where a student stands helps them be able to address learning deficits.”(12 Advantages and Disadvantages of Standardized Testing). This shows when students are pushed to their limits and they have been working hard in a certain subject they are prepared for test . Teachers in this situation are put to a test also (“Good teachers understand that test preparation drills and specific core instructions to “teach to a test “) . Teachers are put to the test by whether or not they can push students to their best ability to pass the exam. Students and teachers are given the same amount time to teach a specific subject and get judged off of it . This goes back to say all of the stress put on students and teachers is unacceptable because students and teachers should not be judged off of a test
It is evident that the author is directing his message at the faculty who believe teachers should be held accountable of their students’ scores, apparent when Zimmer stated, “many argue that they also place undue stress on teachers and students and encourage teachers to "teach the test”,” (Zimmer 1). Based upon the anti-testing diction the author upholds, one can predict the following, “while standardized tests do indeed hold teachers and school districts accountable, linking student performance on the tests to teacher salary and job stability can have drastic effects on the health and well-being of teachers and their students,” (Zimmer 6). Although some might agree that the testing does bring additional stress, the article fails to provide the opposing viewpoint. Without a varying argument, the reader is left with the single perspective that is clearly biased. Similar to source A, the author uses statistics that prove his point. He includes a statistic from the National Education Association (NEA) that states that, “nearly three out of four (72 percent) teachers felt moderate to extreme pressure from their school and administrators to improve their standardized test scores,” (Zimmer 5). By including this one sided quote, the author gets an upper hand in his argument. Yet, a critical reader can challenge this strategy. Without any conflicting information, the author is just listing certain sided information. By appealing by the persuasive language that depicts a cruel face on standardized testing with words like “unneeded” and “major” to describe a student's stress, the reader is receiving biased sum of information. The article is only effective to the extent where the reader realizes it's influenced writing. At that
“A national 2007 study by the Center on Education Policy reported that since 2001, 44% of school districts had reduced the time spent on science, social studies and the arts by an average of 145 minutes per week in order to focus on reading and math. A 2007 survey of 1,250 civics, government, and social studies teachers showed that 75% of those teaching current events less often cited standardized tests as the reason.” (Standardized Tests Pros and Cons) Material that will not be on the test is not being taught which means that students are being limited to what they learned based on the test. This is causing teachers to begin teaching to the test. The term “teach to the test” means that students are not gaining any knowledge but what they will be tested on. In school, students have the right to be taught more than what will just be on the test. School is about growing and learning about the world around, and to help generations to come. Students are just being taught for a test, which makes the tests not a complete accurate measure of what a student can do
School testing is a very controversial topic. Many people believe that SOL testing is useless and unnecessary, while others believe it is very helpful. In “Problems With Standardized Testing” by Jasmine Evans, she states the issues and irregularities that come with testing. She explains how the stakes are too high, pressuring students harshly: “That pressure to succeed creates a poor environment for learning” (Evans par.
High stakes testing is a type of test that has significant consequences. For example, if a student passes this test, she/he will be able to practice a certain profession, go to college, or be qualified for a higher degree. However, if the student fails to pass this test, she/he will have to retake the course until they pass the test. Usually, it is used to take important decisions in one’s life. An example of a high stakes testing is the No Child Left Behind tests (Miller, Linn & Gronlund, 2013).
Cizek, Gregory J. "More Unintended Consequences of High-Stakes Testing." Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice 20.4 (2005): 19-27. Google Scholar. Web. 8 Mar. 2017. This source explores the negative critiques of standardized testing from within the education profession. The history of high stakes tests is described to provide background information on how testing practices have evolved. Various consequences addressed include: reduction of instruction time, neglect of teaching material not covered by the tests, instruction and assessment mirroring the tests, and negative effects on teacher morale and creativity. Cizek also takes time to address the time commitment of test taking. While multiple hours spent on one test is necessary in
Education keeps evolving through time. However, it has been stagnant lately. We are in the period where high-stakes tests are one of the largest aspects in education. It has been like that for a few decades now. A large group of people seem to think that this is the perfect time for change. There are a lot of arguments going around opposing the implementation of high-stakes testing and vice versa. While doing the synthesis paper and proposal, I have noticed that most sources tend to talk about the collateral damage of high-stakes testing instead of its perks. As a result, I decided to interview an admissions officer, because I needed to hear from someone that should support the use of high-stakes testing. I needed to be able to understand both
Ever since then standardized testing has been a huge part of education. Teachers across the nation had to teach to the curriculum instead of what they thought the students needed to learn. Nowadays colleges strictly look at ACT and SAT scores rather than classroom grades, because they believe that some teachers grade on a curve and are not giving the students a fair chance. Standardized tests are an unreliable measure of student performance. A 2001 study published by the Brookings Institution found that 50-80% of year-over-year tests core improvements were temporary and “caused by fluctuations that had nothing to do with long-term changes in learning…”(“Standardized Tests”). Teachers are stressed over if they are teaching “correctly”. They went to a 4-year college, some even more, to get a degree in something that they wanted to do, either for themselves or for the children, and now they have to “teach to the test”. Tests can only measure a portion of the goals of education. A pschometrician, Daniel Koretz says, “standardized tests usually do not provide a direct and complete measure of educational achievement.”(Harris, Harris, and Smith).
At my high school, all students from 9 through 12-grade levels were required to take the Regents exam authorized by the state of New York. If students did not pass the Regents exam in June, their first time, and were forced to go to summer school and take the Regents again, and if they did not pass the test again they were held back a grade or they did not graduate with their class. Thus, it is hard to test students in this way since no one was taught the same way all 12 years or learned the same exact things. That’s not all, before taking the Regent exam in June, we had 4 district assessments each quarter. Higher amounts of testing will end up frustrating the students and they will feel tired when taking state tests. Thus, high-stakes testing is profoundly a mistaken approach of evaluating student’s
There are many things people believe they can fix in our school systems. Many topics that everyone seems to feel they can change to further our education system. From the classes we take, the requirements we need to meet, our lunch systems, the price of education, and teachers pay. Out of all those things I could write about; I choose to go with something I did not list there, high risk test-taking. another common topic in education changes. Test taking has become a necessity in every school curriculum. “Educators are under tremendous pressure to ensure that their students perform well on tests.” (Amrein-Beardsley) Also according to Laura-Lee Kearns, “Interviews with youth indicate that the unintended impact of high-stakes testing is more problematic than policy makers and educators may realize.” (Kearns) Of course there are positives and negatives to having tests that are a big part of your grade. This article though will focus on why high risk test taking is not beneficial in our education system. Also included will be my solutions to this problem.
High stakes tests are assessments that are used to make important educational and life decisions based on their results. The main focus of high stakes reading tests are on cognitive skills and approaches that are imperative mechanisms of students reading success. These tests have been the topic of debate due to their use and intention of their consequences, positive and negative (Afflerbach, 2012). Pros and cons of high stakes testing used for reading assessment will be introduced.