Do High Stakes Tests Drive Up Student Dropout Rates?

By Stanley N. Rabinowitz, Joy Zimmerman, Kerry Sherman

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This Knowledge Brief proposes that the current focus on high-stakes testing per se is too narrow. More relevant is the impact of standards-based reform writ large, which includes the adoption of statewide accountability systems intended to give it clout.

How is this broad reform effort, especially the adoption of “rigorous,” “world-class” academic standards, affecting the education experiences of borderline pupils, those most at risk of academic failure?

This brief identifies data collection problems and research limitations that must be addressed before that question can be answered. It also makes recommendations regarding the implementation of accountability systems to better ensure that they fairly serve all students.