Relationships between high-stakes testing policies and student achievement after controlling for demographic factors in aggregated data.

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Abstract

With the mandate of No Child Left Behind, high-stakes achievement testing is firmly in place in every state. The few studies that have explored the effectiveness of high-stakes testing using NAEP scores have yielded mixed results. This study considered state demographic characteristics for each NAEP testing period in reading, writing, mathematics, and science from 1992 through 2002, in an effort to examine the relation of high-stakes testing policies to achievement and changes in achievement between testing periods. As expected, demographic characteristics and their changes were related significantly to most achievement outcomes, but high-stakes testing policies demonstrated few relationships with achievement. The few relationships between high-stakes testing and achievement or improvement in reading, writing, or science tended to appear only when demographic data were missing; and the minimal relationships with math achievement were consistent with findings in previous research. Considering the cost and potential unintended negative consequences, high-stakes testing policies seem to provide a questionable means of improving student learning.

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How to Cite
Marchant, G. J. ., Paulson, S. E. ., & Shunk, A. (2006). Relationships between high-stakes testing policies and student achievement after controlling for demographic factors in aggregated data. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 14, 30. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v14n30.2006
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Author Biographies

Gregory J. Marchant, Ball State University

Greg Marchant is a Professor of Psychology—Educational Psychology at Ball State University. His current research focuses on high-stakes testing and the uses and misuses of aggregated test scores. He is also involved in the evaluation and development of the Learning Assessment Model Project used to demonstrate student learning of teacher candidates.

Sharon E. Paulson, Ball State University

Sharon E. Paulson is a Professor of Psychology—Educational Psychology at Ball State University. She specializes in adolescent development and works closely with secondary education majors on understanding developmental principles important to teaching and learning. Other research interests include the effects of parenting on adolescent achievement.

Adam Shunk, Ball State University

Adam Shunk is a doctoral student in the School Psychology program at Ball State University. He is currently completing his clinical internship and working on his dissertation.