Can high stakes national testing improve instruction: Reexamining conventional wisdom

David W. Chapman, Conrad Wesley Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


In this paper, the authors draw on recent international experience to assess the success of five propositions for how high stakes national testing can improve classroom instruction and, ultimately, raise student achievement. Findings indicate that testing can be an effective mechanism for improving instructional practice, but its success is not ensured. It has failed as often as it has succeeded, usually because those implementing the strategy failed to understand the intermediate conditions that had to be met for changes in test content, format, or use to have the desired impact on teachers' classroom practice. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-474
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Preparation of this paper was supported, in part, by funding from the Advancing Basic Education and Literacy (ABEL2) Project, Academy for Educational Development, Washington DC under contract number HNE-5832-C-00-4075-00 from the Center for Human Capacity Development, United States Agency for International Development.


  • Assessment
  • Educational policy
  • School improvement
  • Testing


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