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Hopkins 1
Andy Hopkins
Professor Gust
Educational Psychology
February 10, 2008
High Stakes Testing- Con
As a teacher there are always conflicts in the school, whether it is in the school
corporation or the classroom itself. These conflicts have brought change to the school systems of
the United States. There is one conflict that is still in the school corporations around the world,
high-stakes testing. I feel that high-stakes testing has a negative effect on students because of the
stress and pressure it puts on students, the style of learner that a student is, and how the test can
only shows certain areas of study.
High-stakes testing is defined as the use of standardized test results to make such
significant decisions as whether students get promoted to the next grade or graduate from high
school, whether teachers and administrators receive financial rewards or demotions, and whether
school districts receive additional state funds or lose their accreditation (Snowman, Biehler 539).
When schools say that only one test can send you to the next grade level, which is very stressful
on students. This type of pressure has touched parents at home. Parents think that some highstakes tests place undue pressure on young children (Walker 6).
The parents, I feel, are right with this statement. There have been increasing numbers of
children suffering with sleeping disorders and stress disorders in the press for the past few years
(Walker 6). This does happen with a lot of students. I actually know firsthand that high-stakes
tests have made me very nervous and sleep deprived. The stress that children go through, I think,
is very premature.
Hopkins 2
The next two topics go hand in hand. High-stakes testing hurts the style of learner that a
student may be. This may be because the style of test may not measure what the student’s real
strengths are. There are several types of learning styles, but I will only discuss hands-on learning
and visual and auditory learners. High-stakes testing hurt students that are hands-on learners
because they are not set up in a way that would show their type of genius. Students that excel in
a high-stakes test tend to be from a higher income bracket, which are white and are primarily
visual learners (Elliot, Knight). What this is saying is that these high-stakes tests hurt some
people. I know that high-stakes tests hurt me because I am not the best test taker.
The book, Psychology Applied to Teaching, says that there are nine recommendations for
state assessment systems. These recommendations are to help make more positive outcomes than
negative ones (Snowman, Biehler 514). The problem that I find is that there are still negative
outcomes. I feel that we need to find a way to make a test that would help the people who are
more hands-on and who may struggle with test taking. For example, the I-STEP may want to
include some sort of hands-on experience that a high school sophomore may know. I think that if
we were to use the results and use a line graph to show the figures it would show that the
students who did poorly on the written part of the I-STEP would perform better in the real world
experience. Some problems that arise are the type of hands-on experiences that you may use.
This could include some sort of chemical mixing or shop work of some type. High-stakes testing
needs to find a way to make the test seem less stressful, work out a way to help the students who
may struggle with the written part to make them feel more accomplished, and try to include all
types of learning abilities.
Hopkins 3
Work Cited
Elliot, Jack, and James Knight. "High Stakes Testing Isn't the Answer." 2002. Arizona U. 10
Feb. 2008 <>.
Snowman, Jack, and Robert Biehler. Pyschology Applied to Teaching. Boston: Houghton
Mifflin Company, 2006. 508-514, 539.
Walker, Sherry F. High Stakes Testing: Too Much? Too Soon? Education Commission of the
States, Denver, CO. Denver: ECS Distribution Center, 2000. 4-6. 10 Feb. 2008
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