The March 2015 issue of Educational Researcher was devoted to the perceived usefulness/uselessness (depending on the perceiver) of high-stakes testing. The issue contains multiple perspectives from teachers, principals, and education researchers. The abstract from the journal’s editors sets the tone for the issue:
Teacher accountability based on teacher value-added measures could have far-reaching effects on classroom instructionand student learning, for good and for ill. To date, however, research has focused almost entirely on the statisticalproperties of the measures. While a useful starting point, the validity and reliability of the measures tell us very littleabout the effects on teaching and learning that come from embedding value added into policies like teacher evaluation,tenure, and compensation. We pose dozens of unanswered questions, not only about the net effects of these policies onmeasurable student outcomes, but about the numerous, often indirect ways in which these and less easily observed effectsmight arise. Drawing in part on other articles in the special issue, we consider perspectives from labor economics, sociologyof organizations, and psychology. Some of the pathways of these policy effects directly influence teaching and learningand in intentional ways, while other pathways are indirect and unintentional. While research is just beginning to answer thekey questions, a key initial theme of recent research is that both the opponents and advocates are partly correct about theinfluence of these policies.