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ERIC Number: EJ1044311
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0013-189X
"Teaching to the Test" in the NCLB Era: How Test Predictability Affects Our Understanding of Student Performance
Jennings, Jennifer L.; Bearak, Jonathan Marc
Educational Researcher, v43 n8 p381-389 Nov 2014
What is "teaching to the test," and can one detect evidence of this practice in state test scores? This paper unpacks this concept and empirically investigates one variant of it by analyzing test item--level data from three states' mathematics and reading tests. We show that NCLB-era state tests predictably emphasized some state standards while consistently excluding others; a small number of standards typically accounted for a substantial fraction of test points. We find that students performed better on items testing frequently assessed standards--those that composed a larger fraction of the state test in prior years--which suggests that teachers targeted their instruction towards these predictably tested skills. We conclude by describing general principles that should guide high-stakes test construction if a policy goal is to ensure that test score gains accurately represent gains in student learning.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts; New York; Texas
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305A110420