Remember those dreaded standardized tests you took back in elementary school? Those ubiquitous yellow Ticonderoga #2 pencils will forever be sealed in our collective memories. Children all over the country are subjected to taking these tests anywhere between 1 to 20(!) standardized tests per year. With the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 many schools and districts have been asked to increase the ways they hold teachers accountable for their teaching, and students accountable for their learning. As a result of this, many cities and states have implemented even more standardized testing to ensure that they are reaching their educational goals. High-stakes testing was born from this movement.
High-stakes tests are standardized tests that children take, typically towards the end of the school year, and based on their performance, there are serious consequences. The most typical of these consequences is mandatory grade retention (this is when children are forced to repeat a grade in school).
I work with a large sample of low-income and ethnically diverse children who are required to take a high-stakes test in third grade. If these third graders fail this test, they have to repeat third grade all over again! My research aims at discovering the unique predictors of failing this test, as well as the long-term outcomes of children who repeat third grade after failing this test.
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