Friday, March 18, 2005

High Stakes Corruption

David Berliner of Arizona State University does it again. He authored a report with Sharon Nichols of UT San Antonio titled "The Inevitable Corruption of Indicators and Educators Through High-Stakes Testing." Nichols and Berliner show just how insidious such tests, the backbone of No Child Left Behind, are. I served as a consultant in reviewing the report prior to its release today.

Here is a tidbit from the press release:

• Teachers’ and administrators’ inability to be flexible about test administration meant a 14-year-old student whose brother was recently murdered was not allowed to be excused from a test.


Drs. Berliner and Nichols identified 10 trends that outline the consequences of high-stakes testing, which ultimately all negatively impact the quality of education for our nation’s children. The trends are:

• Administrator and Teacher Cheating;
• Student Cheating;
• Exclusion of Low-Performance Students from Testing;
• Misrepresentation of Student Dropouts;
• Teaching to the Test;
• Narrowing the Curriculum;
• Conflicting Accountability Ratings;
• Questions about the Meaning of Proficiency;
• Declining Teacher Morale; and
• Score Reporting Errors.

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