Is High Stakes Tests Necessary? Essay

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According to the Glossary of Education Reform (, high-stakes tests are designed to measure student achievement and to determine whether a student is intelligent enough to advance in education. These tests can come in many forms; although the SAT and ACT are considered the most common examples of high-stakes tests in America, any test used to make important decisions about a student can be considered a high-stakes test. For example, students giving oral reports in front of a faculty panel to receive their diplomas would be taking a high-stakes test. However, because these high-stakes tests can only be taken a few times at most, and because these tests are supposed to accurately represent a student’s ability in the classroom, many students report anxiety before these tests. Because higher levels of test anxiety may be associated with lower test scores, one question arises: is high-stakes testing truly the most accurate way to assess a student’s ability in the classroom? To answer this question, researchers have begun to explore an alternative to high-stakes testing: low-stakes testing. Low-stakes testing is also used to measure student achievement; however, these tests are not typically used to make important decisions about students. I argue that low-stakes testing should be implemented in schools in hopes of lessening student test anxiety and encouraging long-term retention of course material. Many have criticized
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