Harvard Educational Review
  1. Summer 2001 Issue »

    The Relative Equitability of High-Stakes Testing versus Teacher-Assigned Grades

    An Analysis of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS)

    Robert T. Brennan, Jimmy Kim, Melodie Wenz-Gross, Gary N. Siperstein
    Which is more equitable, teacher-assigned grades or high-stakes tests? Nationwide, there is a growing trend toward the adoption of standardized tests as a means to determine promotion and graduation. “High-stakes testing” raises several concerns regarding the equity of such policies. In this article, the authors examine the question of whether high-stakes tests will mitigate or exacerbate inequities between racial and ethnic minority students and White students, and between female and male students. Specifically, by comparing student results on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) with teacher-assigned grades, the authors analyze the relative equitability of the two measures across three subject areas — math, English, and science. The authors demonstrate that the effects of high-stakes testing programs on outcomes, such as retention and graduation, are different from the results of using grades alone, and that some groups of students who are already faring poorly, such as African Americans and Latinos/Latinas, will do even worse if high-stakes testing programs are used as criteria for promotion and graduation. (pp. 173–216)

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    Summer 2001 Issue

    Abstracts

    The Relative Equitability of High-Stakes Testing versus Teacher-Assigned Grades
    An Analysis of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS)
    Robert T. Brennan, Jimmy Kim, Melodie Wenz-Gross, Gary N. Siperstein
    Poverty and the (Broken) Promise of Higher Education
    Vivyan C. Adair
    Affirmative Action and Education in Fiji
    Legitimation, Contestation, and Colonial Discourse
    Carmen M. White
    Voices Inside Schools: The Poet, the CEO, and the First-Grade Teacher
    Mary Ellen Dakin
    Voices Inside Schools: Moving Beyond Polite Correctness
    Practicing Mindfulness in the Diverse Classroom
    Barbara Vacarr

    Book Notes

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