High Stakes Testing and Teaching to the Test

  • Gary Natriello
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 21)

Perhaps no single educational policy change over the past fifty years has had as great an impact on the work lives of teachers in public schools in the United States and other developed nations as the movement to impose high stakes testing requirements. High stakes testing refers to the use of standardized student achievement tests as a primary mechanism to evaluate the performance of students, their teachers, and their schools. High stakes testing policies have long existed for special purposes such as admission to elite educational institutions, but such policies have spread in recent years to encompass greater proportions of the student population.

In the United States the spread of high stakes testing to encompass more students was part of the school reform movement designed to improve the quality of education by raising standards for student performance (Darling-Hammond, 2004; McNeil, 2000; Orfield & Kornhaber, 2001). High stakes testing policies began at the state level with a majority of states implementing some type of high stakes testing program. The spread of high stakes testing has been most recently spurred by federal legislation that requires all students, with few exceptions, to be tested as evidence of their accomplishments and those of their teachers and schools (Goertz & Duffy, 2003). Other developed nations appear to be moving in the same direction as testing programs increasingly involve more students and drive more important decisions regarding their educational careers.


School District Educational System Student Achievement Student Performance High Stake 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary Natriello
    • 1
  1. 1.Teachers CollegeColumbia University10027

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