High-Stakes Testing Infographic

Priscilla Johnson EDU/315 July 7, 2014 Janis Wiley

What Makes Tests High-Stakes?

"High-stakes testing has become the popular term that refers to the use of standardized tests that may lead to serious consequences" (Teachers and the Law, Fischer, Schimmel, & Stellman, 2014, p. 433). State laws and policies of school districts vary in implications for high-stakes testing. Some states use standardized tests in order to track students, grant promotions, and issuance of diplomas. This form of testing is employed as means to determine student ability and the effectiveness of the educational delivery systems, and allocated teacher and student accountability (Jones, Jones, & Hargrove, 2003). Failure to meet necessary scores on these high-stakes test can result in repercussions for teachers, students, and school districts including preventing students from moving forward in grade level, mandates for schools to implement improvement strategies, supplemental funding for provisions taken toward improvement, and even replacement of staff when necessary.

One State's Policy - Louisiana

Louisiana's high-stakes testing policy is center on expectations of achievement according to grade level (LDOE.org, 2014). The content of these tests present knowledge and skills students are expected to know at certain stages of education. In Louisiana, students participate in separate state tests, LEAP (Louisiana Educational Assessment Program) grades 4 and 8, iLEAP grades 3, 5, 7, and 9 and EOC (End-of-Course) grades 10 and 11, based on grade level using a scoring system of various achievement levels including: Advanced, Basic, Approaching Basic, and Unsatisfactory. Students in grades 4 and 8 must achieve acceptable scores or face detainment in the current grade. The iLeap is not considered high-stakes, and students taking the EOC face refusal of diploma if acceptable scores are not achieved.

Implications for Teachers Administering High-Stakes Tests

High-stakes tests impose implications upon teachers (ED Glossary.org, 2013). The results from these types for assessment are often used to evaluate teacher performance and determine professional recoupment. Some policies base decisions regarding teacher salary, employment, and tenancy on the test scores of students.

High-Stakes High-Stakes

"Deciding what gets taught in a limited school day is a tough decision" (Jones, Jones, & Hargrove, 2003, p. 22).

Teachers today haggle with the dilemma of deciding whether to utilize, already limited and valuable, time to teach to the test. An article from the ASCD (2011) highlights the impact of standardized test on the curriculum. Because of the high-stakes imposed by standardized tests, teachers feel the need to teach to the test to ensure students fair well. Already lacking in time allotted for instruction, teachers are forced to adjust the curriculum to include content emphasized in the standardized test. The focus of many classroom assignments and assessments reflect the subject matter featured in high-stakes assessments and leaves little time for other activities and learning goals. Teachers must not only make decisions on what must be taught, but also how it should be taught, and find effective, ethical means for preparing students for high-stakes tests without decreasing the intensity or broadness of the curriculum.


ASCD.org. (2011). Educational Leadership: What Students Need to Learn: High-Stakes testing Narrows the Curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/mar11/vol68/num06/High-Stakes_Testing_Narrows_the_Curriculum.aspx

CDN.com. (2014).Which [Image]. Retrieved from http://img.answcdn.com/view:feature/getty/student-behavior/e2d3b546/457384401.jpg

Fischer, L., Schimmel, D., & Stellman, L. E. (2011). Teachers and the Law (8th ed.). Boston,

MA: Pearson.

Jones, G.M., Jones, B. D., & Hargrove, T. (2003). The Unintended Consequences of High- Stakes Testing. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.

LDOE. (2014). Interpreting LEAP/GEE Scores. Retrieved from http://www.doe.state.la.us/lde/uploads/16333.pdf

Washington Post. com. (2014). Bubble Test [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/opinions/outlook/spring-cleaning/images/high-stakes-test-350.jpg