The Impact of High Stakes Testing on Student Proficiency in Low Stakes Subjects: Evidence from Florida's Elementary Science Exam
School of Business
An important criticism of high-stakes testing policies – policies that reward or sanction schools based on their students’ performance on standardized tests – is that they provide schools with an incentive to focus on those subjects that play a role in the accountability system while decreasing attention to those subjects that are not part of the program. This paper utilizes a regression discontinuity design to evaluate the impact of Florida's high-stakes testing policy on student proficiency in the low-stakes subject of science. We confirm prior results that students in schools facing more immediate sanctions under the policy made substantial gains in the high-stakes subjects of math and reading. Contrary to the crowding-out hypothesis, we find that students in these schools made substantial achievement gains in the low-stakes subject of science as well.
Winters, M. A., Trivitt, J. R., & Greene, J. P. (2010). The impact of high stakes testing on student proficiency in low stakes subjects: Evidence from Florida's elementary science exam. Economics of Education Review 29(1), 138-146. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2009.07.004