ERIC Number: EJ888634
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Dec
Why Has High-Stakes Testing so Easily Slipped into Contemporary American Life?
Nichols, Sharon L.; Berliner, David C.
Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, v74 n4 p41-47 Dec 2008
High-stakes testing is the practice of attaching important consequences to standardized test scores, and it is the engine that drives the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The rationale for high-stakes testing is that the promise of rewards and the threat of punishments will cause teachers to work more effectively, students to be more motivated, and schools to run more smoothly--all of which will result in greater academic achievement for all students, but especially those from poverty and minority backgrounds. Although it is certainly arguable, the authors believe that, to date, there is no convincing evidence that high-stakes testing has the intended effect of increasing learning. By contrast, there is a growing literature suggesting that the unintended consequences are damaging to the education of students. In this article, the authors offer five reasons--and their thoughts on each--for why high-stakes testing has so easily become a part of contemporary American life.
Descriptors: High Stakes Tests, At Risk Students, Minority Groups, Teacher Educators, Business, Social Status, Athletics, Accountability, Literary Criticism, Public Schools, Elementary Secondary Education, Teacher Attitudes, Political Attitudes
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001