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The Uses of Testing Data in Urban Elementary Schools: Some Lessons from Chicago


by John B. Diamond & Kristy Cooper — 2007

Standards-based accountability policies that include high-stakes testing are currently the dominant school reform approach in the United States. These policies are designed to raise students’ educational outcomes and reduce race and class achievement gaps by linking students’ test scores to rewards and sanctions for both schools and students. Such policies are based on a straightforward set of assumptions: Educators will improve instruction and students will learn more if (1) policymakers clearly articulate rigorous standards, (2) a curriculum that is aligned with the standards is developed and implemented, (3) regular assessments are taken to determine if students are meeting the standards, and (4) rewards and sanctions for schools and/or students based on these test results are imposed. By establishing a clear set of goals, motivating educators and students through incentives, and providing schools with objective data on student learning outcomes, these policies are designed to create more educational equality.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 106. No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 109 Number 13, 2007, p. 241-263
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18520, Date Accessed: 12/13/2017 3:57:23 PM

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About the Author
  • John Diamond
    Harvard University
    E-mail Author
    JOHN B. DIAMOND is an Assistant Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
  • Kristy Cooper
    Harvard University
    E-mail Author
    KRISTY COOPER is a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she researches the impact of education policy on student life outcomes.
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