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Testing High-Stakes Tests: Can We Believe the Results of Accountability Tests?


by Jay Greene, Marcus Winters & Greg Forster — 2004

This study examines whether the results of standardized tests are distorted when rewards and sanctions are attached to them, making them high-stakes tests. It measures the correlation in school-level test resultsincluding both score levels and year-to-year score changeson high-stakes and low-stakes tests administered in the same schools in nine school systems. It finds that test score levels generally correlate very well, while year-to-year score changes correlate very well in Florida but much more weakly in other school systems. It concludes that the stakes of high-stakes tests do not distort information about the general level at which students are performing, and in Florida they also do not prevent the tests from providing accurate information about school influence over student progress.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 106 Number 6, 2004, p. 1124-1144
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11568, Date Accessed: 11/23/2017 7:02:13 PM

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About the Author
  • Jay Greene
    Manhattan Institute
    E-mail Author
    JAY P. GREENE is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research where he conducts research and writes about education policy. He has conducted evaluations of school choice and accountability programs in Florida, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and San Antonio. His research was cited four times in the Supreme Court’s opinions in the landmark Zelman v. Simmons-Harris case on school vouchers. His articles have appeared in academic journals and in major newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and theWashington Post.
  • Marcus Winters
    Manhattan Institute
    E-mail Author
    MARCUS A. WINTERS is a Research Associate at the Manhattan Institute’s Education Research Office where he studies and writes on education policy. He has coauthored several studies on a variety of education policy issues. Op-ed articles by Winters have appeared in numerous newspapers including the Christian Science Monitor, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Greg Forster
    Manhattan Institute
    E-mail Author
    GREG FORSTER is a Senior Research Associate at the Manhattan Institute’s Education Research Office. He is the co-author of studies on accountability, special education, charter schools, and vouchers, and has published op-ed articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer Herald, and the Austin American-Statesman.
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