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Do High Stakes Assesments Improves Learning?

            Education is one of the most, if not the most important issue today; and recently has risen to the top of the national agenda. Education has always been a large topic for discussion. It is an important topic in elections and in government. Education is also important for parent. They want their kids to go into the best achieving schools. Parents are always comparing how their child is smarter than the rest of the kids their age. The big question is how do we know if education is being improved? How do we know which is the best school in the county to send Sally Sue to? The answer is high stakes assessment testing.
             High stakes assessment testing is done in most if not all public schools. Children typically receive their first paper and pencil test in kindergarten. Testing is done for several reasons: those who score in the bottom quartile are encouraged or required to spend another year in kindergarten, or are placed in a K-1 transitional setting that often leads to later retention. The tests used in the majority of school districts have expanded in their purposes. For example, children's scores now determine whether they will be placed in a gifted and talented program or become eligible for special tutoring. Results of annual achievement tests also determine eligibility for enrichment programs, and special classes. Tests are used to determine a student's academic level. They become the basis for early tracking and then ongoing tracking. According to the book that is being used in EDUC 364, the author states, "All forms of tracking should be eliminated entirely. Even under the best of circumstances, tracking denies equal education opportunities to the students of color and to other students who populate the lower levels" (Banks, 215). In recent years, test results have been increasingly used to determine whether a child should advance from one grade to another.
             Considering that the exams are used for many purposes to assess learners, you would think that the exams would be essay questions to find out what the learner really thinks.

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