Re-analysis of NAEP Math and Reading Scores in States with and without High-stakes Tests: Response to Rosenshine

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Here we address the criticism of our NAEP analyses by Rosenshine (2003). On the basis of his thoughtful critique we redid some of the analyses on which he focused. Our findings contradict his. This is no fault of his, the reasons for which are explained in this paper. Our findings do support our position that high-stakes tests do not do much to improve academic achievement. The extent to which states with high-stakes tests outperform states without high-stakes tests is, at best, indeterminable. Using 1994-1998 NAEP reading and 1996-2000 NAEP math data and accounting for NAEP exemption rates for the same years, we found that states with high-stakes tests are not outperforming states without high-stakes tests in reading in the 4th grade or math in the 8th grade at a statistically significant level. States with high-stakes tests are, however, outperforming states without high-stakes tests in math in the 4th grade at a statistically significant level. Our findings also support our earlier stance that states with high-stakes tests are exempting more students from participating in the NAEP than are states without high-stakes tests. This is more prevalent the more recent the NAEP test administration. This is illustrated in the tables below.


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Amrein-Beardsley, A., & Berliner, D. C. (2003). Re-analysis of NAEP Math and Reading Scores in States with and without High-stakes Tests: Response to Rosenshine. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 11, 25.
Author Biographies

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, Arizona State University

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley is a part-time Research and Evaluation Associate at a private foundation in Scottsdale, Arizona and a part-time researcher at Arizona State University. She received her PhD from Arizona State University in 2002 in Education Policy with an emphasis in Research Methodology. Her scholarly interests include the study of the intended and unintended consequences of high-stakes testing policies. To date, she has focused on the effects of high-stakes testing policies at a macro level given the frequency with which these policies are being implemented across the nation.

David C. Berliner, Arizona State University

David C. Berliner is Regents' Professor of Education at the College of Education of Arizona State University, in Tempe, AZ. He received his Ph.D. in 1968 from Stanford University in educational psychology, and has worked also at the University of Massachusetts, WestEd, and the University of Arizona. He has served as president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), president of the Division of Educational Psychology of the American Psychological Association, and as a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Education. Berliner's publications include The Manufactured Crisis, Addison-Wesley, 1995 (with B.J. Biddle) and The Handbook of Educational Psychology, Macmillan, 1996 (Edited with R.C. Calfee). Special awards include the Research into Practice Award of AERA, the National Association of Secondary School Principals Distinguished Service Award, and the Medal of Honor from the University of Helsinki. His scholarly interests include research on teaching and education policy analysis.

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