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Exit Exams' Effects On Teaching Studied

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High school exit exams are influencing curriculum and instruction, a study of two school districts suggests.

To see how exit exams might influence teaching and learning, the Washington-based Center on Education Policy examined the use of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TAKS, in the Austin school district and of the Mississippi Subject Area Testing Program, or SATP, in the Jackson public schools.

The study, which does not take a position favoring or opposing use of exit exams, examines their impact in three areas: influences on curriculum and instruction, supports put in place to help students succeed, and the pipeline to higher education. The report say that in both districts, schools often responded to the exams by increasing instructional time in the tested subjects, decreasing flexibility in core curriculum offerings, or providing instructional or pacing guides for teachers to ensure their teaching was aligned to the tests.

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