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ERIC Number: ED556345
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
How Standardized Tests Shape--and Limit--Student Learning. A Policy Research Brief
National Council of Teachers of English
The term "standardized" tests is often heard along with "high-stakes." Standardized tests are administered, scored, and interpreted in a consistent way, so that the performances of large groups of students can be compared. They are not in themselves high-stakes, but they are often used for high-stakes purposes such as determining which students will pass or graduate, which teachers are fired or given raises, and which schools are reorganized or given more funding. Heard less frequently are discussions of the effects of high-stakes standardized tests on student learning. Research shows that these effects include changing the nature of teaching, narrowing the curriculum, and limiting student learning. English language arts (ELA) teachers and their students feel these effects with special force because literacy is central in most standardized tests. Standardized tests have powerful and often negative effects on student learning, but their negative effects can be reduced by measures such as the following policy recommendations offered in this brief: (1) Employing multiple assessments of student achievement so that standardized tests are administered alongside broader, more comprehensive measures of student learning; (2) Representing standardized tests to students as one type of assessment among several and help students understand how this type of assessment functions; (3) Ensuring that the standardized tests being used are valid and reliable for the populations of students being tested; and (4) Providing special accommodations such as allowing extra time, dictation, and translators for English language learners and other students with special need.[This policy brief was produced with assistance from Ann Burke, Gail Gibson, James Hammond, Anna Knutson, Ryan McCarty, Chris Parsons, Molly Parsons, Elizabeth Tacke, and Bonnie Tucker.]
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), James R. Squire Office of Policy Research