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High-Stakes Testing: Can Rapid Assessment Reduce the Pressure?


by Stuart S. Yeh — 2006

This article presents findings about the implementation of a system for rapidly assessing student progress in math and reading in grades K–12—a system that potentially could reduce pressure on teachers resulting from high-stakes testing and the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. Interviews with 49 teachers and administrators in one Texas school district suggest that the assessments allowed teachers to individualize and target instruction; provide more tutoring; reduce drill and practice; and improve student readiness for, and spend more time on, critical thinking activities, resulting in a more balanced curriculum. Teachers reported that the assessments provided a common point for discussion, increased collaboration among teachers to improve instruction and resolve instructional problems, and supported both new and experienced teachers in implementing sound teaching practices. The individualized curriculum and rapid feedback on progress reportedly gave students the feeling that they were successful and in control of their own learning, engaging students who previously disliked reading and math—including dyslexic children and children in special education—reducing stress, and improving student achievement. These findings are interpreted through Corbett and Wilson's framework for understanding why high-stakes testing often has negative effects and why the implementation of rapid assessment systems could reduce unintended negative consequences of testing.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 108 Number 4, 2006, p. 621-661
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12364, Date Accessed: 10/20/2017 1:16:53 AM

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About the Author
  • Stuart Yeh
    University of Minnesota
    E-mail Author
    STUART YEH is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Policy and Administration at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on improved ways of designing assessment and accountability systems. He is currently writing a book that recommends changes in testing policies at the federal, state, and district levels.
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