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Assessment and Accountability: Assessment K-12

Resource on K-16 assessment and accountability practices.

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Texas Resources

Complexity of High-Stakes Testing

High-stakes testing invokes many complaints. 

Madaus and Russell (2011) claimed that testing itself does not cause negative consequences, but the high stakes attached to the test creates the problems and increases the drop-out rate.

Furthermore, the high stakes attached to the test create a tendency to manipulate results (Hochbien, Mitchell, & Pollio, 2013) and fail to meet the needs of low-socioeconomic schools (Madaus & Russell, 2011).

Critics also contend that issuing a standardized test and developing a common core often result in teaching toward the test. They argue that teachers are paying more attention toward predictability and coaching students on how to respond without improving other measures of achievement and performance (Jennings & Sohn, 2014).

Teachers are also limited by subject content, because students are tested over math and reading. Therefore, an imbalance in education occurs in what is taught (Watson, Johanson & Dankiw, 2014). 

Solutions offered:

Roxanne Minix-Wilkins (Program Coordinator for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Region 5 ESC) suggested implementing school-wide initiatives to improve instructional practices while teaching the state-mandated curriculum. Teachers need to have a deep understanding of what the TEKS are really asking the teacher to teach and the learner to master. Once teachers understand the curriculum and how to be an effective instructor, then they will no longer need to “teach to the test.” They will be able to teach the curriculum, which will equip the students to pass the test.

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