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Rethinking "High Stakes:" Lessons from the US and England and Wales


"Based on fieldwork conducted in England, Wales and two American states, this paper suggests six themes about "high stakes testing." First, not all stakes are perceived to be equally high. Second, pressure to respond to a test comes from more than just formal stakes. Third, external pressure leads to symbolic responses outside the classroom. Fourth, external pressure can be useful for changing content taught. Fifth, external pressure is less effective in changing instructional strategy than content taught. Sixth, the effects of stakes will depend on a variety of other policy factors."

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