The Testing Gap

Scientific Trials of Test-Driven School Accountability Systems for Excellence and Equity

Jaekyung Lee, SUNY Buffalo

A volume in the series: Research in Education Policy: Local, National, and Global Perspectives. Editor(s): Kenneth K. Wong, Brown University.

Published 2007

The objective of this book is to advance our understanding of the design, implementation and evaluation of test-driven external accountability policies for improving both academic excellence and equity. This book provides new insights into debates about the efficacy of highstakes testing through critical synthesis of previous studies and through systematic analysis of the achievement gap trends over the past 15 years. The core findings have implications for contemporary national and state policy efforts, as mandated by NCLB, to close the achievement gap. The book alerts readers to scientific, institutional and technical threats to the current test-driven school accountability system, and possible consequences if we fail to counteract those threats and continue the current policy course with underfunded mandates and an over-reliance on testing and sanctions.

Preface. Introduction. PART I: Policy, Research and Practice of Test-Driven External Accountability. Educational Policy Laboratory: Scientific Trials of Accountability. Research Threats: Accountability Garners Mixed Evidence. Institutional Threats: Accountability Meets School Realities. Technical Threats: Accountability Falls into Testing Traps. PART II: Impact of NCLB and State Accountability on the Achievement Gap. Shattered Visions of NCLB and State Accountability. National Achievement Trends in NAEP. State Achievement Trends in NAEP. Discrepancies between NAEP and State Assessment Results. PART III: Transforming the Future of Educational Accountability System. Conclusion. PART IV: Appendices: A: Measures of State Accountability: State Activism in Test-Driven External Accountability. B: Summary of Cross-State Causal-Comparative and Correlational Studies on the Effects of High-Stakes Testing and Accountability Policies on Academic Achievement. C: Description of School Organizational Context Variables. D: Description of Maine School Profile Variables Used in MEA School Performance Status and Progress Analysis. E: Data and Statistical Methods for Trend Analysis. F: HLM Analysis of the Relationship between State Accountability Policies and Student Achievement Outcomes. G: Comparison of NAEP and State Assessment in Reading and Math Proficiency. References.

"Lee presents a worthwhile and welcomed contribution to the literature on large-scale assessment and accountability systems. The content of this book warrants attention by educators, researchers, test developers, practitioners, and policy makers." Monique Herbert, Saad Chahine, & Ruth A. Childs Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto