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School Counselors' Perspective on High-Stakes Testing: Exploring the Impact of High-Stakes Testing on Students and Counselors

Fraas, Joseph (2014) School Counselors' Perspective on High-Stakes Testing: Exploring the Impact of High-Stakes Testing on Students and Counselors. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Reliance on standardized testing has increased over the past 50 years. As a tool to measure student and school performance, high-stakes tests are a focal point of accountability systems in place through state reform and federal legislation. This study explored Allegheny County Counselor Association (ACCA) members’ perceptions on the impact high-stakes testing has on the psychological and emotional well-being (motivation, stress, and test anxiety) of students, as well as their perceptions of how high-stakes testing has impacted the role and work environment of professional school counselors. Current ACCA members completed a survey consisting of open and closed-ended questions. Although the results from this study show the impact on the school counselor’s role and work environment have not changed dramatically; it appears students are experiencing higher levels of stress and test anxiety associated with the use of high-stakes tests. School counselors stated there is less time available to spend with students due to changes to their role, such as acting as the test coordinator or proctor for high-stakes tests, but high-stakes testing has not impacted the amount of time counselors spend conducting classroom lessons, small group lessons, and individual counseling sessions in the areas of test preparation skills, college and career readiness, personal and social skills, and academic goals that are not test preparation based. Data show the accountability system in place seems to impact student motivation positively, but has increased the amount of stress and test anxiety students’ experience, along with negatively impacting student morale. Differences observed among the subgroups studied, Education-Challenge and AYP-Status, may be significant since research has shown high-stakes testing widens the educational gap between whites and minorities, and affluent and impoverished. Further exploration may find the differences that exist between the subgroups may negatively impact student performance and play a role in widening the existing educational gap. Although the sample size is relatively small and the findings cannot be generalized, data from this study may provide insight to school counselors, teachers, administrators, and policymakers when considering any future changes to high-stakes testing programs.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTananis, Cynthiatananis@pitt.eduTANANIS
Committee MemberGunzenhauser, Michaelmgunzen@pitt.eduMGUNZEN
Committee MemberLongo, R. Gerardlongoj@pitt.eduLONGOJ
Committee MemberJacob, W. Jameswjacob@pitt.eduWJACOB
Date: 30 September 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 15 April 2014
Approval Date: 30 September 2014
Submission Date: 30 July 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 206
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: High-Stakes Testing, Impact of High-Stakes Testing on Students, Impact of High-Stakes Testing on Counselors, School Counselor Perceptions on Testing
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2014 15:10
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:22


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