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ERIC Number: EJ1159989
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-1946-7109
Student Engagement in High-Stakes Accountability Systems
Cavendish, Wendy; Márquez, Adrián; Roberts, Mary; Suarez, Kristen; Lima, Wesley
Penn GSE Perspectives on Urban Education, v14 n1 Fall 2017
In a nationwide effort to create standardized performance criteria, there has been an emphasis on testing data as the strict measurement of teacher and student success or failure (Volante & Sonia, 2010). These testing accountability systems, developed under No Child Left Behind (2001), were based on assumptions that high-stakes assessments modeled on state standards would lead to improved academic performance and increased graduation rates. However, the authors of this commentary maintain that the emphasis on high stakes testing is not supported by evidence as state-by-state accountability reports have noted negligible change in achievement and graduation rates in states requiring high-stakes testing for graduation (Volante & Sonia, 2010). They contend that the emphasis on testing has forced teachers to narrow the curriculum to test-taking strategies in core subject areas while simultaneously deemphasizing the arts and other enriching subjects (e.g., Barlow, 2003) that can promote "student engagement," defined as a connection to school in affective, cognitive, and behavioral domains (Finn, 1989). The authors argue that student engagement is potentially stifled in the current education model that emphasizes high-stakes testing and accountability systems in urban schools. As decreased student engagement is related to a decreased likelihood of graduation and consequently severely limited postsecondary education and employment opportunities (National Research Council, 2004). They suggest that facilitating student engagement in high-stakes environments may be key to improving student outcomes and the importance of considering student voice, and championing student creation and collaboration.
University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. 3700 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A