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Across the United States many school districts and state departments of education have embraced high-stakes testing for their public schools and students. This has led to widespread school reform since many students have not reached the standards that the states and/or districts have set. Teachers increasingly focus on making sure that their students have enough knowledge to pass these tests, and some states and districts have made passing scores a requirement for graduation. Many states and districts have invested considerable time aligning their standardized tests with the objectives of the curriculum.
One of the consequences of high-stakes testing is that teachers have become more accountable for what they do in their classrooms. Of particular relevance to this review is the professional development that teachers engage in to understand and use students’ standardized test scores. The emphasis is on helping teachers review the test scores and data of these tests so as to make informed decisions regarding instructional practices. This review will examine literature that has addressed the use of standardized test scores by teachers to improve instruction and student learning. The guidelines, principles, and suggestions are presented by level of general application, beginning with broad, general principles of test use and ending with practices specific to MERC school divisions. Figure 1 provides an overview of the major categories that will be covered.
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VCU MERC Publications