What Can Student Drawings Tell Us About High-Stakes Testing in Massachusetts?
by Anne Wheelock, Damian J. Bebell & Walt Haney — November 02, 2000
Many high-stakes testing policies rest on the belief that attaching consequences to test scores will persuade students of the importance of academics and will motivate them to exert greater effort to achieve at passing levels. This investigation explores this assumption through an examination of students' drawings of themselves taking the Massachusetts high-stakes test. Student drawings conveyed a range of opinions about test difficulty, length, and content. A small minority of drawings depicted students as diligent problem-solvers and thinkers. A larger percentage of drawings portrayed students as anxious, angry, bored, pessimistic, or withdrawn from testing. The overall patterns that emerge challenge the belief that the high stakes associated with MCAS will enhance the motivation and effort of students in a uniform way.
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