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High-Stakes Testing and the Whole Child

Knowing what students learn and how well they learn is crucial to improving our nation’s schools. Most states mandate the administration of tests to measure student performance, and then hold individual schools and school systems accountable for that performance. Preparing a classroom of students for a high-stakes assessment can be daunting. However, test scores—aided by other relevant information about the student’s knowledge and skills, such as grades, teacher recommendations, and extenuating circumstances—should influence the critical measures used when making high-stakes decisions such as tracking, promotion, and graduation. A thoughtful, measured approach to high-stakes assessment is important for students, the teacher, and the school.