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Fair Use of High-Stakes Testing


Recently, the Joint Committee on Testing Practices (2004) published a draft of the Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education. The draft provides guidance for test users and test developers in four critical areas: developing and selecting appropriate tests, administering and scoring tests, reporting and interpreting test results, and informing test takers.

Experts' position statement on high-stakes testing (American Educational Research Association [AREA], 2000) warns that there is potential harm if high-stakes testing programs are carried out without adequate educational resources available to schools or without sufficient reliability and validity:

"Policy makers and the public may be misled by spurious test score increases unrelated to any fundamental educational improvement; students may be placed at increased risk of educational failure and dropping out; teachers may be blamed or punished for inequitable resources over which they have no control; and curriculum and instruction may be severely distorted if high test scores per se, rather than learning, become the overriding goal of classroom instruction."

Experts believe there are several conditions essential for ensuring sound implementation of high-stakes educational testing programs for students. The conditions include the following (AERA, 2000):




American Educational Research Association. (2000, July). AERA position statements: H igh-stakes testing in preK-12 education . Retrieved September 6, 2020, from

Joint Committee on Testing Practices. (2004). Code of fair testing practices in education. Washington, DC: Joint Committee on Testing Practices. Retrieved September 6, 2020, from
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