Essay Title: 

high stakes testing issue

April 3, 2016 | Author: | Posted in education, education theories

ACCOUNTABILITY HIGH STAKES TESTING – IMPACT ON THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION

January 2007

There has been considerable debate on the impact of high stakes testing on the overall quality of education . Additionally with focus being turned on making educators more accountable for students learning , as determined by students ‘ performance on such tests , increasingly more evidence is pointing to the harmful effects of those tests . Though some educators still maintain that high stakes tests could improve on the quality of education , there have been too much negative reports on their disadvantages for [banner_entry_middle]

such a position to be agreeable . Accountability is also aimed to ensure this end but I too believe that both can prove harmful to the quality of education

High Stakes tests are usually standardized tests that are administered by sources external to the educational environment in which learning takes place . Such tests , an example of which is the SAT , are characteristically administered at a single sitting to all examinees The content examined on such tests is usually based on a general curriculum from which classroom teachers would have constructed their unit and lesson plans . What makes such tests high-stake is not the instrument that is used but the decisions that are made based on the results of such tests

High stakes standardized tests often impact instructional decisions negatively . Poor performance of students on such tests is usually assumed to mean poor performance of the teacher . Teachers , under threat of accountability , attempt to improve their performance by adopting measures that ensure that more students pass , even if that means ignoring the general educational objectives prescribed by the curriculum

Worthen (1993 ) makes the point that the pressures accompanying high-stakes-tests result more often in other , less beneficial practices and outcomes . Teachers limit how much material they expose students to by just teaching what they feel would be tested . Worthen calls this teaching to the test ‘ Quality is thereby sacrificed . Worthen Spandel (1991 ) further add that the content of such tests are often mismatched with the content emphasized in a school ‘s curriculum and classrooms (p . 66 . Even where the teacher attempts to stick to the curriculum high-stakes-tests end up reflecting only to a slight degree what was actually covered by the teacher in the classroom

Additionally Worthen (1993 ) highlights one serious consequence of basing crucial decisions on test scores . When schools were being held accountable in the 1970s and thereby required to demonstrate achievement via test scores , it was noted that , when issued the minimum acceptable standards of achievement , schools adopted these as the maximum competencies they were aiming for . Schools basically aimed to satisfy only the set out standards and hardly attempted to raise performance beyond those minimal requirements . Obviously the quality of education is compromised in such a case and students are robbed of the opportunity to excel

Moreover , with new research encouraging multicultural classrooms it would be assumed that the creators of test instruments also consider the diversity of the individuals who sit these important tests . Worthen Spandel (1991 ) observe… [banner_entry_footer]

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