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Testing and Assessment

Research in this section relates to high-stakes testing and accountability systems.


Recent Testing and Assessment Research


Research Item School Accountability Under NCLB: Aid or Obstacle for Measuring Racial Equity?
We conclude from the analysis presented in this policy brief that AYP and the state proficiency targets are not very informative when it comes to determining educational progress because of the ways the law has been changed. The AYP data does not allow us to say whether schools are getting better because some states have retained their original standards while others have modified them. Since states are going in opposite directions—some states report a decline in the number of schools identified for improvement while others report an increase—it is difficult to know how much progress has been made improving student performance.
Research Item Tracking Achievement Gaps and Assessing the Impact of NCLB on the Gaps
This report concludes that neither a significant rise in achievement, nor closure of the racial achievement gap is being achieved. Small early gains in math have reverted to the preexisting pattern. If that is true, all the pressure and sanctions have, so far, been in vain or even counterproductive. The federal government is providing $412 million a year to help pay for part of the additional testing required by the law and many states claim that they are being forced to divert state funds to testing and other provisions they believe are unnecessary.
Research Item Raising Standards or Raising Barriers
The book makes clear the importance of high standards and accountability systems. But support for standards and accountability systems should not be equated with support for high-stakes tests. Most of the contributors to the volume have found evidence that policies that focus on high-stakes testing corrupt educational reform and undermine achievement, especially for at-risk students.
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