Education Report Roundup

Unintended Negative Consequences of High-Stakes Testing Outlined

By Laura Greifner — December 01, 2006 1 min read

“Assessment, High Stakes, and Alternative Visions: Appropriate Use of the Right Tools to Leverage Improvement” is available from the Education Studies Policy Laboratory.

High-stakes testing has unintended negative consequences that can undermine the purpose of assessment, says a study by the Education Policy Research Institute at Arizona State University in Tempe.

The study says the stress of receiving rewards and punishments based on test scores can result in curricula and instructional strategies that are too narrow. Other negative effects of high-stakes testing can include the reallocation of services disproportionately away from high- and low-achieving students and toward those students whose scores are closest to the cutoff between passing and failing; a negative impact on students as a result of testing errors that improperly categorize them; and efforts to bypass high-stakes tests, undermining their efficacy, according to the report.