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ERIC Number: EJ957120
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1946-7109
"School Is So Boring": High-Stakes Testing and Boredom at an Urban Middle School
Mora, Richard
Penn GSE Perspectives on Urban Education, v9 n1 Fall 2011
Existing evidence suggests that high stakes exams result in little increased learning among students. Yet, given the federal mandates for greater accountability, such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation and Race to the Top policies, and the "pervasive testing culture," the use of high-stakes tests is presently an accepted practice. The importance ascribed to standardized tests within public education has significant impact on pedagogical practices. High-stakes testing has altered instruction such that in many classrooms more time is spent on test preparation at the expense of engaging and varied learning activities. In this article, the author documents the effect of high-stakes test preparation on middle school students' boredom. Presented and discussed herein are the findings of an ethnographic study that followed a group of 30 urban, Latina/o, middle school students over the course of their middle school experience and documented, among other things, the ground-level impact the push toward "greater accountability" in public education had on the students. The analysis of the data is based on the understanding that the phenomenon of boredom is associated with schooling. While many studies document that boredom is regularly experienced by students, there is a need for investigations that focus on the interplay between classroom dynamics and curriculum that give rise to boredom. Consequently, the findings discussed herein have the potential to contribute to the scholarship on schooling, curriculum, pedagogy, and boredom.
University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. 3700 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 6; Grade 8; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001; Race to the Top