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ERIC Number: ED502123
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jul
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Building on the Basics: The Impact of High-Stakes Testing on Student Proficiency in Low-Stakes Subjects. Civic Report No. 54
Winters, Marcus A.; Greene, Jay P.; Trivitt, Julie R.
Center for Civic Innovation
School systems across the nation have adopted policies that reward or sanction particular schools on the basis of their students' performance on standardized math and reading tests. One of the most frequently raised concerns regarding such "high-stakes testing" policies is that they oblige schools to focus on subjects for which they are held accountable, but to neglect the rest. Many have worried that the limited focus of these policies could have an unintended negative effect on student proficiency in other subjects, such as science, that are important to the development of human capital and thus to future economic growth. This paper evaluates whether the F-grade sanction in Florida's A+ program has led schools to increase student learning in the high-stakes subjects of math and reading to the detriment of learning in the important, but low-stakes subject of science. Results indicate that the F-grade sanction led to substantial student gains in the learning of math, reading, and science. Finally, a simple model is produced to explain the impact of high-stakes testing on student learning in low-stakes subjects. Evidence is provided suggesting that virtually all the positive findings in science are attributable to complementarities in the learning of math and reading. (Contains 2 tables and 3 endnotes.)
Center for Civic Innovation. 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Tel: 212-599-7000; Fax: 212-599-3494; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Manhattan Inst., New York, NY. Center for Civic Innovation.
Identifiers - Location: Florida