High-Stakes for Students


As we enter the March Madness of testing season, many parents and teachers have become increasingly concerned that the high-stakes attached to so many tests are actually harming our students and schools. There is particular concern about the disproportionate impact high-stakes-testing may be having on our poorest students, most struggling students, English Language Learners, and students of color.

So what are the “high-stakes” for students in high-stakes testing? Examples we’ve been hearing from parents and educators across Pennsylvania include:

  • Lost learning time: there’s less time for learning with testing and test prep (for example, Pittsburgh students now take 20-25, or more, high-stakes tests a year, with new tests this year in art and music).
  • Reduced content knowledge: students are learning how to take high-stakes-tests, but cannot demonstrate subject mastery when tested in a different format. [Koretz, 2008]
  • Narrowed curriculum: with a focus on reading and math scores…

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