The impact of state-mandated standard-based



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The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of the high-stakes standardized test movement in Texas secondary schools. The method to accomplish this task was to compare the perceptions between Texas secondary school administrators and supporters, critics, and researchers of high-stakes testing. Out of 400 potential respondents randomly selected from 2005-2006 membership list of Texas Association of Secondary School Principals, 178 administrators participated in an electronic survey to rate the extent to which 31 statements derived from supporters, critics, and the unintended consequences of high-stakes testing as reported by researchers in current literature. Means, standard deviations, and frequencies were used to make assumptions about perceptions of secondary administrators. Independent t-tests were conducted to test for possible perception differences between groups identified in the study. Independent groups examined in this study included: Gender (Male and Female), Years of Administrative Experience (1-4 years vs. 15 or More Years), Campus Classification (Large vs. Small), and Current Campus Rating (Exemplary and Recognized vs. Academically Acceptable). Using an alpha level of .05 to establish significance, t-tests suggest that significant differences exist between large and small school administrators on statements 5 and 7. Further, significant differences exist between male and female administrators on statements 4 and 5. The findings of this study seem to suggest that Texas secondary principals strongly support the following statements:

  1. No high-stakes decision such as grade retention or graduation should be based on the results of a single test.
  2. Educators are making use of student performance data generated by highstakes tests to help them refine programs, channel funding, and identify roots of success.
  3. High-stakes tests have helped focus public attention on schools with lowachieving students.
  4. The public display of high-stakes test scores motivates administrators.
  5. High-stakes testing has resulted in a loss of local control of curricula.
  6. The implementation of high-stakes testing has been a catalyst for increased attention to students with special needs.
  7. Doing poorly on high-stakes tests does not lead to increased student effort to learn.