High Stakes Testing

By: Charlsie Drugmand

What Makes Tests "High Stakes"

  • They can prevent graduation in students.

  • They can prevent students from moving to the next grade level

  • ACT and/or SAT passing scores are needing to get into college.

  • Results from them can prevent teacher promotions or pay increases.

  • Not implementing the tests can results in teachers losing their jobs.

  • Used to determine "effective" and "ineffective" teachers. ("High Stakes Tests", 2014)

Ethical Implications for Teachers Administering Tests

Ethical implications for teachers are that they know the consequences of failing these tests. If they know their students are smart and know the material, but they all fail the test, it puts them in a bind. Students failing these tests can lead to them not being able to move forward in school, it can hinder teacher promotions and pay increases. Continuous low scores can create a "low performing school" which can potentially lead to the school closing down if not turned into a charter school, bought out by a private party, etc. ("High Stakes Tests", 2014)

Legal Implications for Teachers Administering Tests

By law, teachers must implement these tests and the materials. If they don’t they could be relieved of their duties as a teacher. The state sees these tests as appropriate ways to measure academic achievement in students and expects their employees to prepare and administer tests along the state guidelines. These are state mandated curriculum and testing and must be given or the state can shut down the school.

Ethical Challenges Teachers Face During Test Preparation

Teachers know if they don’t prepare their students properly, they can potentially fail and not be able to graduate or move to the next grade level. Teachers also face the facts that they may fail their evaluations if their students fail the tests. Ultimately, if the students fail, it creates a trickle down effect causing school closings and many people to lose their jobs. Keeping a close eye on your moral compass in these stressful times is essential.

Should Teachers "Teach to the Test?"

I think teachers should teach to the test. "You can't test something you haven't taught." (Mahon, 2013) I think in doing this, they are preparing their students for the test and doing all they can to help them succeed. However, I think they shouldn’t put so much pressure on it. I think teaching to the test but outside the box will help the students be more at ease and understand the material better. I think teachers also need to find ways to relate the concepts to student interests as well as make learning fun for them. In doing so, the students will be more likely to focus on the material itself rather than the consequences of not succeeding on the high stakes tests.