High stakes testing refers to standardized assessments used to make significant decisions about students, educators, schools, or educational systems. These tests have serious consequences attached to their outcomes, often influencing educational advancement, teacher evaluations, funding allocation, or school rankings.
High stakes tests are typically administered on a large scale, involving a wide population of students. The results are used to assess students' proficiency, academic achievement, and college or career readiness.
Critics of high stakes testing argue that it can lead to a narrow focus on test preparation, teaching to the test, and a lack of attention to other important aspects of education. They also raise concerns about potential biases in the testing process and the undue pressure it may place on students.
Proponents argue that high stakes testing provides valuable data for educational accountability and performance evaluation. They believe that standardized assessments are essential for measuring academic progress and identifying areas for improvement.