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November 2003 | Volume 61 | Number 3
The Challenges of Accountability
Lisa M. Abrams and George F. Madaus
Research shows that high-stakes tests can affect teaching and learning in predictable and often undesirable ways.
Today's widespread implementation of standards-based reform and the federal government's commitment to test-based accountability ensure that testing will remain a central issue in education for the foreseeable future. Test results can provide useful information about student progress toward meeting curricular standards. But when policymakers insist on linking test scores to high-stakes consequences for students and schools, they often overlook lessons from the long history of research.
The most recent round of high-stakes testing grew out of the standards-based reform movement that began in the early 1990s. This reform effort gave rise to state-level accountability systems characterized by four components (Hamilton, Stecher, & Klein, 2002):
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Copyright © 2003 by Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
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