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Student Self-Portraits as Test-Takers: Variations, Contextual Differences, and Assumptions about Motivation

Anne Wheelock, Damian J. Bebell, and Walt Haney

Teachers College Record, Date Published: 11/2/00 ID Number: 10635
Copyright 2000 Teachers College, Columbia University. All rights reserved

Comments and review:  Chuck Downing, Ph.D..


If your state is not currently engaged in "high stakes" testing of students, it soon will be. State legislatures around the country on how well schools have defined school performance by students’ ability to score well on some form of standardized examination. These tests are nearly always multiple choice in format, and usually take more than one day to administer. How motivated students are to perform well on these examinations is the focus of this article.

Depending on the state, high stake test results may be printed in local papers with all schools ranked in some way. The "haves" and "have nots" are clearly delineated. In many states some form of monetary reward or punishment goes to schools whose students scores fall within certain categories.

Much political rhetoric regarding high stakes testing hypothesizes a simple relationship between curriculum standards, instruction,testing, and student performance. As the argument goes, once students are provided with a standardized curriculum, and once"passing" scores are defined at a "challenging" level, students will work to meet the standards set for them. (Page 1)


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