High Stakes Testing in Georgia

Christina Fahy

What makes the tests high stakes?

High stakes testing is considered high stakes because unlike ordinary tests, if failed theses tests have serious implications like the inability to advance to the next grade level or the inability to graduate. In Georgia there are standardized tests that students have to take at each grade level, some have a heavier weight than others. The best example of the high stakes tests in Georgia are the Georgia High School Writing Test (GHSWT) and the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT) both of which are completed in grade 11. If any portion of these two tests is failed the student may attempt the tests again in grade 12. Students are unable to graduate if both of these tests are not passed. (Great Kids, 2016)

What are the legal and ethical implications for teachers administering these tests?

Teachers always have a code of ethics they must abide by as professionals, but thee is a much more specific code of ethics in place for when teachers administer high stakes testing. Teaches are to administer the tests fairly and ethically meaning that they may not coach students, use former tests as examples, copy tests, give any student an advantage or change scores. Failure to comply with these rules can have serious ramifications which can include but are not limited to a professional write up, termination, the revoking of teaching certification, fines and jail time. (Georgia Association of Educators, 2016)

What ethical challenges do teachers face in preparing students for these tests?

Teachers jobs help their students when they are struggling and are taught to find innovative ways to display the information to better help their students understand. Teachers are required to perform in the exact opposite way when administering and preparing their students for these tests. When preparing students for testing there is only so much teachers can do since they do not know what exactly is on the test, and even if they did, they would not be able to share that information with their students. When preparing students for high stakes testing, teachers can teach their students test taking methods, familiarize students with the format of standardized tests, encourage students to study daily, and most importantly, make sure that their students thoroughly understand the curriculum material. (Georgia Association of Educators, 2016)

Should teachers teach to test?

Teachers should absolutely not teach to test. If teachers were to focus solely on preparing their student's for these tests then they would not only fail to teach other concepts that may be on the curriculum but they would be focusing too much on the testing and not enough on their students and how to teach their students the information to the best of their ability. Teachers should focus on the objectives on the curriculum and create engaging and varied lesson plans that will not only allow for their students to understand the objectives but to get them excited about learning. Students who have adequately learned the curriculum will understand an succeed in taking any high stakes testing for their grade.


Dream Box Learning . (2016). Retrieved from http://www.dreambox.com/blog/the-best-ways-to-boost- students-standardized-test-scores

Georgia Association of Educators. (2016). Retrieved from http://pv.gae2.org/content.asp?ContentId=2704

Great Kids. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/testing-in-ga/ Toonvectors. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.toonvectors.com/clip-art/categories/desk-furniture/1751