Theory Into Practice

Theory Into Practice
Volume 42, Number 1, Winter 2003


Contents

Articles

    Goertz, Margaret E.
    Duffy, Mark.
  • Mapping the Landscape of High-Stakes Testing and Accountability Programs
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    Subject Headings:
    • Educational tests and measurements -- Law and legislation -- United States.
    • Educational accountability -- Law and legislation -- United States.
    • School improvement programs -- United States -- States.
    Abstract:
      The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 requires states to test more, set more ambitious improvement goals for their schools, and increase sanctions for schools that fail to meet these goals. To gain an understanding of the potential impact of the new law, this article describes the types of state assessment and accountability policies that were in place at the time the U.S. Congress enacted the NCLB Act, and how selected school districts in eight states responded to these policies. It concludes by identifying four challenges facing states and school districts as they implement the NCLB Act.
    Sloane, Finbarr C.
    Kelly, Anthony E.
  • Issues in High-Stakes Testing Programs
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    Subject Headings:
    • Educational tests and measurements -- United States.
    • Education -- Curricula -- United States.
    • Motivation in education -- United States.
    Abstract:
      The debate over high-stakes testing programs plays out daily in newspapers, on TV, and in the business, education, legal, political, and research communities. This article examines some of the issues at the heart of this debate. Four main areas are covered: the types of tests used, the effects on student motivation and morale, the degree of alignment between the test and the curriculum, and the distinction between assessment of learning and assessment for learning. The article concludes by highlighting the need for teacher input in crafting testing programs that maximize benefits in each of these areas.
    Abrams, Lisa M.
    Pedulla, Joseph J.
    Madaus, George F.
  • Views from the Classroom: Teachers' Opinions of Statewide Testing Programs
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    Subject Headings:
    • Teachers -- United States -- Attitudes.
    • Educational tests and measurements -- United States.
    • Academic achievement -- United States.
    Abstract:
      This article discusses teachers' views on state-mandated testing programs. An overview of the literature is presented, as well as results from a nationwide survey of teachers. Findings from both suggest that high-stakes state-mandated testing programs can lead to instruction that contradicts teachers' views of sound educational practice. In particular, teachers frequently report that the pressure to raise test scores encourages them to emphasize instructional and assessment strategies that mirror the content and format of the state test, and to devote large amounts of classroom time to test preparation activities. The article concludes that serious reconsideration must be given to the use of high-stakes consequences in current statewide testing programs.
    Horn, Catherine.
  • High-Stakes Testing and Students: Stopping or Perpetuating a Cycle of Failure?
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    Subject Headings:
    • Educational tests and measurements -- United States.
    • Education -- Standards -- United States.
    • High school students -- United States -- Psychology.
    • Learning ability.
    Abstract:
      As state-mandated standardized testing becomes an increasingly popular tool by which to make student-level high-stakes decisions such as promotion or graduation from high school, it is critical to look at such applications and their effects on students. Findings in this article suggest that non-White, non-Asian students, as well as students with special needs and English Language Learners, are among the groups most deeply affected by high-stakes testing. Test scores give us important information, but they do not give us all the information necessary to make critical decisions. Given their limited nature and the potentially adverse impacts they can have, using state-mandated large-scale testing for student-level high-stakes purposes is unadvisable.
    Gulek, Cengiz.
  • Preparing for High-Stakes Testing
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    Subject Headings:
    • Educational tests and measurements -- United States.
    • Study skills -- United States.
    • Educational accountability -- United States.
    Abstract:
      The passage of the No Child Left Behind Act has spotlighted testing and accountability in U.S. public schools. This federal statute calls for a dramatic expansion of state-level high-stakes testing. Educators need to prepare students for these tests in ways that do not detract from real learning. In addition, school practitioners must become assessment literate in order to make the maximum use of test results. This article addresses appropriate and inappropriate test preparation practices, as well as some practical aspects for becoming assessment literate.
    Gunzenhauser, Michael Gerard.
  • High-Stakes Testing and the Default Philosophy of Education
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    Subject Headings:
    • Educational tests and measurements -- United States.
    • Education -- Philosophy.
    Abstract:
      In this article, the author argues that high-stakes testing may lead to a default philosophy of education that holds in high regard a narrow bundle of knowledge and skills. A default philosophy is defined as the vision of education that results from a lack of reflective, engaged dialogue among educators and school communities about their goals and practices. In the context of high-stakes testing, one predominant default philosophy results from an inordinate focus on the tests themselves. As has been shown in research studies throughout the United States, this creates a context in which conversations about the meaning and value of education cannot take place without performance on standardized tests taking center stage. Within this context, dialogue is more difficult, and other possible philosophies of education become harder to articulate and implement. When the default philosophy of education dominates in a school, school district, or state, the possibilities for improving education reform and innovation are limited.
    Hombo, Catherine M.
  • NAEP and No Child Left Behind: Technical Challenges and Practical Solutions
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    Subject Headings:
    • Educational accountability -- Law and legislation -- United States.
    • Academic achievement -- United States -- Testing.
    • Education -- United States -- Aims and objectives.
    Abstract:
      The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what U.S. students know and can do in various subject areas. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires that all U.S. states, jurisdictions, and territories submit plans to the Secretary of Education that demonstrate that the state has adopted challenging academic content and student achievement standards. As part of that plan, states and school districts that receive Title I funds must participate in NAEP assessments in reading and math at grades 4 and 8 every two years. The purpose of NAEP has always been to survey what students know and can do and to monitor changes over time. Now, NAEP has a new role, to act as a serious discussion tool in evaluating results of state assessments and in providing a common base for comparison between states. This role brings new challenges and opportunities for the NAEP program.
    Gregory, Kelvin.
    Clarke, Marguerite H.
  • High-Stakes Assessment in England and Singapore
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    Subject Headings:
    • Educational tests and measurements -- Singapore.
    • Educational tests and measurements -- Great Britain.
    • Education, Elementary -- Aims and objectives -- Singapore.
    • Education, Elementary -- Aims and objectives -- Great Britain.
    Abstract:
      Recent trends in federal and state testing policies have close parallels with policies enacted in England during the 1990s. However, rather than looking toward England for lessons learned, U.S. policy makers have tended to focus on the testing policies and practices of internationally high-performing Asian countries, especially Singapore. This article presents an overview of the English and Singaporean education systems, paying special attention to the high-stakes assessment systems operating at the elementary level in both countries. The effects of these assessments on teachers and students are described and implications for U.S. educators outlined.
    Chudowsky, Naomi.
    Pellegrino, James W.
  • Large-Scale Assessments That Support Learning: What Will It Take?
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    Subject Headings:
    • Educational tests and measurements -- United States.
    • Motivation in education -- United States.
    • Educational accountability -- United States.
    Abstract:
      Large-scale assessments can and should support learning. But for that to happen, greater clarity is needed about the underlying constructs, or aspects of thinking and learning, that are the most important targets for assessment. This article describes the construct problem that has long existed in achievement testing, and argues that current research in the cognitive sciences, measurement, and technology make this an opportune time to make a significant leap forward in assessing critical aspects of learning. However, designing new kinds of situations for capturing the complexity of learning requires breaking out of the current paradigm of drop-in-from-the-sky standardized testing. It also requires a sustained, collaborative effort among specialists in academic content, learning, and assessment.



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