Educational policy analysis archives

Educational policy analysis archives

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Educational policy analysis archives
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Educational policy analysis archives.
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Relationship of high school graduation exams to graduation rates and SAT scores / Gregory J. Marchant [and] Sharon E. Paulson.
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E DUCATION P OLICY A NALYSIS A RCHIVES A peer reviewed scholarly journal Editor: Sherman Dorn College of Education University of South Florida Copyright is retained by the first or sole author, who grants right of first publication to the Education Policy Analysis Archives EPAA is published jointly by the Colleges of Education at Arizona State University and the University of South Florida. Articles are indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals ( Volume 13 Number 6 January 21 2005 ISSN 1068 2341 The Relation ship of High School Graduation Exams to Graduation Rates and SAT Scores Gregory J. Marchant Sharon E. Paulson Ball State University Citation: Marchant, G. J. & Paulson, S. E. ( 2005, January 21). The r elation ship of h igh s chool g raduation e xams to g raduation r ates and SAT s cores Education Policy Analysis Archives, 13 ( 6). Retrieved [date] from Abstract The current study examined the effect of high school graduation exams on states graduation rates, states aggregated SAT scores, and individual students SAT scores. Three data sources were used: One source identified states requiring a standardized test for graduation; the NCES provided state aggregated data on graduation rates for the class of 2002 ; and the College Board provided its 2001 SAT database for all test takers. After controlling for students demographic characteristics (e.g., race, family education and income, GPA and class rank), regression analyses revealed that states requiring gradua tion exams had lower graduation rates and lower SAT scores. Individually, students from states requiring a graduation exam performed more poorly on the SAT than did students from states not requiring an exam. The impact of high stakes tests on students motivation to stay in school and on the teaching of critical thinking skills (tested by the SAT) are discussed.


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 6 2 A major event impacting an adolescents passage into adulthood is graduation from high school. The high school diploma is a credential of responsibility, perseverance, and completion of years of education. It is a tool for potential employers, it is a stepping stone for higher education, and it is a status symbol and certificate of self worth. Current educational policies, including those contained in the No Child Left Behind federal mandate, seek to improve the educational quality for the nations schools. However, educational accountability, could threaten the future of many adolescents. High schools requiring standardized examinations for graduation and diplomas could be putting some of their students at a disadvantage by encouraging dropping out of school, or by focusing the curriculum in a way that facilitates performance on the exam at the expense of critical thinking skills, includi ng those assessed by the SAT. On the other hand, the implementation of graduation exams may improve students performance on other high stakes tests, such as the SAT, by helping to motivate students to achieve more demanding standards and provide them wit h valuable test taking experience. Minimal research has looked at the effect of high stakes testing on graduation rates, and only one study has attempted to look at the effect of high school graduation examinations on SAT scores (Amrein & Berliner, 2002). Furthermore, studies that do explore the relations between high stakes tests and students achievement outcomes often ignore the confounding effects of demographic factors such as race, family income, and student ability (GPA and class rank). The purpose of the current study was to examine the effect of high school graduation exams on states graduation rates, states aggregated SAT scores, and on individual students SAT scores. In addition, several demographic factors known to impact students test res ults and graduation rates were included. High Stakes Tests The American Educational Research Association (2000) defined high stakes tests as those tests, which carry serious consequences for students or educators. Examples of high stakes tests for s tudents include those that identify special academic accomplishments, those used for decisions regarding grade retention, and those that determine high school graduation. High school graduation exams were intended to make graduating and receiving a diploma mean something in terms of acquired knowledge and skills necessary for employment, college, and life (Center on Educational Policy, 2002). Advocates believe these tests motivate students and help teachers focus on important academic content and skills. The use of high school graduation tests is based on several underlying assumptions (Kane, 2001): (1) A core set of desired outcomes of a high school education can be identified. (2) A high level of student achievement on demanding content is an importan t goal for high schools. (3) Student achievement will improve if students are required to pass a high school graduation test based on demanding content. A secondary assumption is that the adoption of the high school graduation test will not have a major n egative impact on other indicators of achievement, such as graduation rates, achievement in content areas not on the test, and involvement in extracurricular activities (Kane, 2001). Unfortunately, little research has been done to test these assumptions. The lack of definitive research regarding graduation exams is particularly unfortunate considering what is at stake for adolescents. Failure to graduate from high school has serious


Marchant & Paulson: High School Graduation Exams 3 high stakes and may produce a lifetime of consequences. With the stakes being this high, the role graduation exams play in adolescents lives should be fully investigated. Research has revealed problems associated with high stakes tests at other grade levels (primarily elementary). Concern has been expressed regarding the co ntent and validity of the tests, the impact of the tests on teaching, and consequences for students (for a review see Marchant, 2004). The validity of standardized achievement tests not specifically designed to match school curriculum and the use of norm referenced tests to assess mastery have been challenged. Schools narrowing curriculum and teachers teaching to the test and using inappropriate test preparation approaches have been identified. Similar issues need to be explored at the high school level. Effects on Graduation and Dropout Rates One of the most consistent concerns associated with high school graduation exams is that failing the test, or even fear of failing the test, would convince some students to drop out of high school and not graduat e. In a longitudinal qualitative investigation of states before and after implementing graduation exams, Amrein & Berliner (2002) found that 62 percent of the states posted increased dropout rates, and 67 percent of the states showed a decrease in graduat ion rates. Quantitative analyses are needed to confirm these observations; therefore the first purpose of this study was to examine the direct effects of high school graduation exams on graduation rates. It was expected that graduation examinations would h ave a negative impact on graduation rates. If graduation exams created any social inequities, the poor and minorities would be the most likely to suffer. Performance on high stakes tests, such as graduation exams, has been found to be directly related to the socioeconomic status of students (Cunningham & Sanzo, 2002); with lower SES students earning lower scores. Furthermore, graduation exams were found to have no effect on the dropout rate of average students, but lower achieving students (more likely lo w SES students) were 25 percent more likely to drop out of high school than comparable peers in non test states (Jacob, 2001). In addition, African American and Hispanic students consistently experience significantly higher dropout rates than White student s (Rabinowitz et al, 2001). This situation has grown to crisis proportions with dropout rates in some school districts with minority students at 30 or 40 percent (Orfield, Iosen, Wald, & Swanson, 2004). In 2002, it was found that among the states with a higher than national average percentage of African Americans, 75 percent had high school graduation exams (Amrein & Berliner, 2002). All but one of the ten states with the highest percentage of African Americans had graduation exams, and none of the ten s tates with the lowest percentage of African Americans had graduation exams. These trends point to the importance of including demographic characteristics of students in any analyses on graduation exams and graduation rates. The current study controlled for demographic characteristics of students in its examination of graduation rates and was able to assess the impact of graduation exams above and beyond the confounding effects of demographics. A caveat regarding the computation of graduation rates or drop out rates is important to consider. The dropout rate for any high school, district, or state typically is not determined simply by looking at the number of students that started school and subtracting the number that graduated four years later. Students m ay move and transfer to another school, or they may decide to pursue a GED instead. However, some districts and schools


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 6 4 have been accused of using mobility and the GED option as a way of doctoring dropout rates and increasing graduation rates (Schemo, 2 003). Even some ways in which dropouts are reported leave room for misinterpretation. For example, if a state reports an annual dropout rate of 4 percent across secondary grade levels, it is possible for the freshman class to experience a 16 percent drop out by the end of its senior year (Rabinowitz, Zimmerman, & Sherman, 2001). For this study, graduation rates were computed by dividing the number of graduating seniors in each state by the number of freshman four years earlier. Although this method does no t consider such confounding factors as mobility or GEDs, it does provide simple consistency across the widely varying techniques of any one school or district in calculating its graduation rates. Effects on SAT Scores The SAT I: Reasoning Test is a three hour exam that assesses verbal reasoning and mathematical problem solving skills (College Entrance Examination Board, 2002). The SAT is a standardized objective test with most items being multiple choice. The test is not a measure of any set curriculum; instead it is designed to assess skills necessary for success in college. The SAT has even been equated to an intelligence test, measuring students ability to learn, not mastery of what was learned (Gose, Selingo, & Brownstein, 2001). Although a higher o r lower score on the SAT may not have the same devastating impact on students as the denial of a diploma, the SAT is often the objective measuring stick that colleges use for admissions decisions. Therefore, differences in scores can affect students going to their college of choice, or potentially their ability to go to any college at all. Although college success has been predicted better by high school grade point averages than by SAT scores (Bridgeman, McCamley Jenkins, & Ervin, 2000; Camara & Echternac ht, 2000; Hu, 2002), the SAT continues to be regarded as a fair way to assess students from different schools on an objective measure. The second purpose of this study was to examine the impact of high school graduation exams on students SAT scores. Given schools increased emphasis on high stakes tests and students greater experience with standardized testing in schools with graduation exams, it might be expected that high school graduation examinations would have a positive effect on SAT scores. Further more, if graduation exams are related to increased drop out, subsequently decreasing the potential number of students taking the SAT, students scores should experience an additional boost. The only study to look at the effect of graduation examinations o n SAT scores produced no consistent results (Amrein & Berliner, 2002). Although it has been argued that the SAT is no more an indicator of socioeconomic status than any other standardized test or measure of academic achievement (Zwick, 2002), research has found that SAT scores, like other standardized tests, are indeed influenced by SES (Marchant & Paulson, 2001). Further, it has been suggested that SAT items do not reflect the black experience and overemphasize science (Fleming, 2000). Although the scori ng gap between blacks and whites narrowed from 1976 to 1988, since then the racial gap in SAT scores has widened, with a major confounding factor being family income. The effects of these demographic variables are exacerbated when school, district, or sta te scores are aggregated or averaged to reflect an average of the students scores. Using aggregated state SAT scores, over 90 percent of the variance among states can be attributed to the


Marchant & Paulson: High School Graduation Exams 5 factors of family income and parent education (Marchant & Paulson, 2001). Again, the need to consider demographic characteristics of students in any study of high stakes tests cannot be ignored. In this study, demographic factors were controlled in analyzing the effects of graduation exams on SAT scores; but the differin g effects of graduation exams on SAT scores by various demographic groups also were examined. Method This study used three data sources to investigate the effects of high school graduation examinations on graduation rates and on SAT scores. The Amrein a nd Berliner study (2002) identified states requiring a standardized test for graduation, and when each state adopted that policy. These data allowed for the identification of which students were required to pass a graduation exam to graduate in the year 2 002. From this database, 18 states were identified as having graduation exams and 33 did not ( n = 51 states including Washington, DC). The National Center for Education Statistics (2004) provided state aggregated data ( n = 51) on enrollment by grade level and graduation numbers. Data from 1999 (freshmen) to 2002 (seniors) were used to compute graduation rates by dividing the number of seniors graduating in 2002 by the freshman enrollment in 1999 for each state (simplification of Green, 2001; Owin, 2002). In addition, this data source provided state aggregated data on race (percent of minorities), family income (percent eligible for free and reduced lunch), and participation in special education (percent of students with IEPs). The third data source was the College Boards 2001 SAT database for all test takers (most are juniors) in the country. This database contained over a million test takers; however, incomplete survey responses reduced the sample ( n = 694,900) used in this study. The database included the selected demographic variables of minority status (percent blacks and percent whites), parent education (whether parents have a bachelors degree or higher), parent income (whether parents earn more or less than $80,000), student grade point average, a nd student class rank. Results Descriptive analyses were run on the demographic factors to explore the differences between states with a graduation exam to states that do not have such an exam. A review of the state aggregated demographics (National Ce nter for Education Statistics, 2003) supported previous research indicating that states with graduation exams tended to have more minorities and more students eligible for the reduced lunch program (see Table 1; Amrein & Berliner, 2002). The demographics from the College Boards SAT database showed that with the exception of significantly fewer blacks in states without graduation examinations, the samples of SAT test takers in each state were not significantly different.


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 6 6 Table 1 Means of State Aggregated and Ind ividual Student Factors by State Graduation Requirement No Graduation Exam n = 33 Graduation Exam Required n = 18 t p < Graduation Rate (%) 71.65 (7.61) 63.91 (9.45) 3.19 .005 Minority students (%) 25.38 (20.90) 39.94 (13.38) 2.67 .01 S pecial education/IEPs (%) 13.12 (1.90) 14.77 (5.69) 1.51 ns Reduced lunch program (%) 32.68 (9.09) 39.54 (11.61) 2.25 .05 Average SAT score 1,078.02 (67.10) 1,044.00 (61.53) 1.73 .10 Percent taking SAT 34.24 (27.75) 42.06 (27.23) .97 ns W hite test takers (%) 77.34 (18.27) 68.91 (9.56) 1.82 .10 Black test takers (%) 7.16 (10.55) 14.97 (7.87) 2.75 .01 Parents with degrees (%) 38.15 (9.28) 36.17 (10.44) .70 ns Family income > $80k (%) 31.70 (9.45) 31.11 (7.90) .22 ns High school GPA 3.43 (.23) 3.37 (.19) .88 ns Note : High school GPA is on a 4.0 scale Effects on High School Graduation R ates A multiple regression analysis was used to examine the impact of states requirement of a graduation examination on graduation rates. Percent of minorities (race), percent eligible for free and reduced lunch (family income), and percent of students wi th IEPs (special education) were included in the equation to control for confounding demographic factors The equation predicted graduation rates ( R = .76, p < .001) with all of the variables accounting for a significant amount of unique variance (see Tabl e 2). Percent of minorities ( r sp = .30, p < .01), percent eligible for free or reduced lunches ( r sp = .22, p < .05), and the requirement of a graduation examination ( r sp = .21, p < .05) were all negatively related to the percent of graduates. The perce nt of students with IEPs (in special education) was positively related to graduation rates ( r sp = .25, p < .05). States with a graduation exam requirement averaged a 64 percent graduation rate, 8 percentage points lower than the 72 percent for the states without the requirement ( t = 3.19, df = 49, p < .005).


Marchant & Paulson: High School Graduation Exams 7 Table 2 Multiple Regression Analysis Predicting State Graduation Rates Unstandardized Standard Semi B Error Partials t p < Constant .767 .049 15.785 .01 Mi nority percentage .175 .059 .301 2.973 .01 Free/reduced lunch .002 .001 .223 2.206 .05 Special education .006 .002 .247 2.437 .05 Graduation exam .043 .021 .207 2.046 .05 Overall Regression R 2 = .58, df = 4, 41 p < .001 Note. Due to missing data sample was reduced to 45 states. Effects on SAT Scores The relation between graduation exams and SAT scores were examined on the state aggregated level and on the individual level. First, a multiple regression was used to examine th e impact of states requirement of a graduation exam on state aggregated SAT scores (from the College Board SAT data source). The percentage of minority test takers, percent of students with parents with bachelors degrees or above, and mean high school gra de point average (GPA) for each state were included in the equation. Minority status ( r sp = .12, p < .01), parents college education ( r sp = .40, p < .001), high school GPA ( r sp = .24, p < .001), and graduation exam requirement ( r sp = .10, p < .05) were significant predictors for total SAT scores aggregated by state (see Table 3; R = .96, p < .001). A second multiple regression analysis predicting individual student SAT scores used the same variables. Because of the increased size of the sample (from sta tes to individuals), the variables of family income over $80,000 and class rank in the top 10 percent of the high school class were added as predictors. The equation was a significant predictor of individual SAT scores (see Table 4; R = .64, p < .001) with each predictor accounting for a significant amount of unique variance. The requirement of a high school graduation examination had a significant negative impact on individual SAT scores on ( r sp = .04, p < .01).


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 6 8 Table 3 Multiple Regression Analysis Predicting State Aggregated SAT Scores Unstandardized Standard Semi B Error Partials t p < Constant 496.32 52.32 9.49 .001 Minority percentage .553 .187 .121 2.953 .005 Parents college 4.030 .412 .400 9.785 .001 High school GPA 112.401 19.133 .240 5.875 .001 Graduation exam 14.118 5.825 .099 2.424 .05 Overall Regression R 2 = .93, df = 4, 46 p < .001 Table 4 Multiple Regression Analysis Predicting Individual SAT Scores Unstandardized Standard Semi B Error Partials t p < Constant 533.870 1.181 452.115 .001 Minority percentage 71.851 .421 .160 170.483 .001 Parents college 68.008 .448 .143 151.793 .001 Family income 59.935 .459 .123 130.641 .001 High school GPA 117.617 .362 .305 325.196 .001 High school rank 95.873 .546 .165 175.683 .001 Graduation exam 16.140 .387 .039 41.677 .001 Overall Regression R 2 = .41, df = 6, 664,762, p < .001 Past evidence suggested that an interact ion between race and family income exists in predicting SAT performance (Bolinger, 1992). Using the individual SAT data, further exploration of this effect revealed that all students without a graduation examination requirement significantly outperformed t hose student with the graduation requirement on the SAT, except those test takers who were black with family incomes less than $80,000 that were in the top 10 percent of their high school class (see Table 5). They performed better on the SAT if their stat e required a graduation exam. This group accounted for one percent of the total sample.


Marchant & Paulson: High School Graduation Exams 9 Table 5 Differences in SAT Score s by Graduation Exam Requiremen Separated by Race, High School Rank, and Parent Income Race High School Rank Parent Income No Graduation Examination Graduation Exam Required Difference White n = 692,816 1,066.63 (189.74) 1,053.46 (184.51) 13.17 Bottom 90% <$80,000 993.28 (168.02) 986.54 (161.25) 6.74 >$80,000 1,072.85 (167.58) 1,057.05 (166.04) 15.80 Top 10% <$80,000 1,192.88 (158.16) 1,177.34 (155.47 ) 15.54 >$80,000 1,262.94 (149.25) 1250.30 (149.40) 12.64 Black n = 116,164 861,97 (196.04) 854.04 (177.19) 7.93 Bottom 90% <$80,000 832.73 (178.84) 828.36 (162.92) 4.37 >$80,000 958.68 (186.95) 930.56 (174.79) 28.12 Top 10% <$80,000 969.53 (2 08.94) 987.68 (177.89) 18.15 >$80,000 1,161.12 (161.50) 1,118.38 (177.67) 42.74 The effect of aggregating scores was evident in the prediction of SAT scores. With the exception of the percent minority variable, every demographic variable and the r equirement of a high school graduation exam accounted for twice as much variance in the state aggregated scores as in individual scores (see Figures 1 and 2). Overall the state aggregated equation predicted over twice the variance in SAT scores than the e quation for individual test takers, with the state aggregated equation leaving only 8 percent of the variance unaccounted for, compared to 59 percent for individuals.


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 6 10 Figure 1. Percent of variance accounted for among states calculated from standardized B weights for graduation rates and SAT scores. State Graduation Rates Minority (-) 20% HS Grad Exam (-) 12% Not Measured 41% Lunch Prog. (-) 14% Special Education 13% State SAT Scores Parent College 46% HS GPA 29% Minority (-) 10% HS Grad Exam (-) 7% Not Measured 8%


Marchant & Paulson: High School Graduation Exams 11 Figure 2. Percen t of variance accounted for among individuals calculated from standardized B weights for SAT scores. Discussion The results of this study suggested that both graduation rates and SAT scor es may be negatively influenced by the requirement of a high school graduation examination. Even when controlling for substantial demographic variables related to the outcomes, high school graduation examinations contributed to decreased graduations rates and lower SAT scores. These findings for graduation rates were far less surprising than those for SAT scores. Students struggling to succeed in high school might very well find one more hurdle, one hurdle too many. The fact that these adolescents were more likely to be minorities and from lower SES backgrounds was particularly discouraging. For students that have worked, perhaps harder than most, to overcome obstacles, it seems unconscionable to establish a policy that places a potentially insurmountab le barrier between them and a diploma. Colleges report their pools of applicants, especially minority applicants, are being reduced by high school graduation exam requirements (Schmidt, 2000). Even if the high school graduation exam were not a barrier to a diploma, it may still be a detriment to higher education. Finding that graduation examination requirements were negatively related to SAT scores when controlling for demographics was the major result of this study, supporting the instructional concerns expressed by critics of high stakes testing. Research repeatedly yields two findings related to instruction and high stakes testing: teachers tend to narrow the scope of their curriculum to that which is tested, and they tend to abandon more innovative te aching strategies such as cooperative learning and creative projects in favor of more traditional lecture and recitation (e.g., Brown, 1992, 1993; Romberg, Zarinnia, & Williams, 1989). The pressure to improve student scores compels some teachers to teach to the test Individual SAT Scores Parent College 6% HS GPA 14% HS Rank 7% Minority (-) 7% HS Grad Exam (-) 2% Not Measured 59% Income 5%


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 6 12 (Smith, 1991). High stakes testing also seems to encourage the use of instructional approaches and materials that resemble the tests used (Rottenberg & Smith, 1990). Because the nature of items on the SAT, as a reasoning test, can look very different than those of a typical achievement test; focus and preparation for the achievement test are unlikely to transfer. Rituals of giving multiple choice quizzes and providing test preparation often take the place of normal instruction when high s takes tests are a factor. Teachers exploring instructional practices informed by current views of learning and supported by cognitive psychology that seek deeper understanding and critical thinking may find those techniques, and even those goals, at odds with the drill and practice suggested by the broad rather superficial coverage typical of schools with graduation exams (Marchant, 2004). High stakes examinations have been found to be a major factor in discouraging teachers from using strategies that pro mote enquiry and active learning, and this impoverishment influences the language of classroom discourse (Wideen, OShea, Pye, & Ivany, 1997). Therefore, as more flexible, responsive, innovative student based instructional approaches are abandoned in fav or of achievement test preparation, the ability to reason verbally and mathematically, as reflected by SAT scores, may suffer. Demographic characteristics proved interesting in predicting both graduation rates and SAT scores. There are a couple explanatio ns for the positive relation between the percent of students receiving special education services and high school graduation rates. It is possible that a larger percentage of students receiving support may translate into a larger percentage of students ac hieving and graduating. It is also possible that students qualifying for special education services receive exemptions from requirements, such as the graduation examination, that might otherwise serve as a deterrent for a diploma. The positive relation o f graduation exams to SAT scores for lower income higher achieving Black students was an interesting contrast for this small sub sample. Perhaps for these select students, the negative impact of a decreased focus on reasoning was offset by the increased co ncentration on test content and structure. This sub sample represented a very small proportion of the sample (about one percent). This may suggest that, although graduation examinations and high stakes testing may not be in the best interest of most stude nts, some students may benefit from the structure and focus brought to bear by an emphasis on testing, As with any study, this research has limitations. Any means in which graduation rates or dropout rates are calculated are likely to draw some criticism. Graduation rates for this study did not consider mobility of students or students leaving school to pursue a GED. Although these are not irrelevant concerns, confusion regarding how these intentions are recorded and monitored suggests their inclusion ma y be as much a confound as their exclusion. Another concern with this study is its focus on one graduating class and one year of SAT test takers. There is, however, no reason to assume that the year chosen was an anomaly. As with many areas in education, the use of high stakes graduation exams merits further research. However, in the absence of substantial benefits from the practice, and with growing evidence of negative consequences, in addition to the expense in time and money, any efforts to increase the use of graduation exams seems ill advised. Justification for the continuation of the practice needs to be clearly established beyond past assumptions. Too much is at stake for too many to base educational policy on assumptions, good intentions, or po litical interests. Further research evidence is required.


Marchant & Paulson: High School Graduation Exams 13 Acknowledgment This project was funded in part by a grant from the Ball State University Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa. The authors extend special thanks to the College Board for providing their data An earlier version of this paper was presented at the March, 2004 biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Baltimore, MD. References American Educational Research Association (2000, July). AERA position statement concerning high s takes testing in PreK 12 Education. Retrieved March 8, 2004, from Amrein, A.L. & Berliner, D.C. (2002, March 28). High stakes testing, uncertainty, and student learning Education Policy Analysis Archives 10 (18). Retrieved [date] from Bolinger, R. W. (1992, October). The effect of socioeconomic levels and similar instruction on scholastic aptitude test s cores of Asian, Black, Hispanic, and White students. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Mid Western Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL. (ERIC Document Reproduction No. ED 356 243) Bridgeman, B., McCamley Jenkins, L., & Ervin, N. (2 000). Predictions of freshman grade point average from the revised and recentered SATI: Reasoning test. Research Report No. 2000 1 (ETS RR No. 00 1). College Examination Board: NY. Brown, D. F. (1992, April). Altering curricula through state mandated testing: Perceptions of teachers and principals. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA. Brown, D. F. (1993). The political influence of state mandated testing reform through the eyes of principals and teachers. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 360 737). Camara, W. J., & Echternacht, G. (2000). The SAT[R] 1 and high school grades: Utility in predicting success in college. College Entrance Examination Board: New York. Center on Educational Policy. (2002). State high school exit exams: A baseline report. Center on Educational Policy: Washington, DC. College Entrance Examination Board. (2002). Everything you want to know about the SAT: Q & A. College Entrance Examination Board: Princeton, NJ. Cunningham, W. G., & Sanzo, T. D. (2002). Is high stakes testing harming lower socioeconomic status schools? NASSP Bulletin, 88 (631), 62 74. Fleming, J. (2000). Affirmative action and standardized test scores. Journal of Negro Education, 69, 27 37.


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 6 14 Gose, B., Selingo, J., & Brownstein, A. (2001, October 26). The SATs greatest test. Chronicle of Higher Education, 48 (9), A10 16. Greene, J. P. (2001). High school graduation rates in the United States. Document prepared for t he Black Alliance for Educational Options. (ERIC Document reproduction Service No. ED 466 523) Hu, N. B. (2002, June). Measuring the weight of high school GPA and SAT scores with second term GPA to determine admission/financial aid index a case study. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Institutional Research, Toronto, Canada. (ERIC Document reproduction Service No. ED 473 071) Jacob, B. A. (2001). Getting tough? The impact of high school graduation exams. Educational Eval uation and Policy Analysis, 23 (2), 99 121. Kane, M. (2001, April). The role of policy assumptions in validating high stakes testing programs. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational research Association, Seattle, WA. Marchant G. J. (in press). What is at stake with high stakes testing? The Ohio Journal of Science: A Multidisciplinary International Journal. Marchant, G. J., & Paulson, S. E. (2001). State comparisons of SAT Scores: Whos your test taker? NASSP Bulletin, 8 5 (627), 62 74. National Center for Educational Statistics. (2003). Condition of education Retrieved March 8, 2004, from Or field, G., Iosen, D., Wald, J., & Swanson, C. B. (2004). Losing our future: How minority youth are being left behind by the graduation rate crisis. The Civil Rights Project, Harvard University. call_dropout04.php Owin, B. R. (2002). Graduation rate study: Four and five year graduation rates for the cohort class of 2001, Arizona Public High Schools. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 468 959) Rabinowitz, S., Zimmerman, J., & Sherman, K (2001). Do high stakes test drive up student dropout rates? Myths versus reality. San Francisco, CA: WestEd (ERIC Document Reproduction Service Number ED 463 565) Romberg, T. A., Zarinnia, E. A., & Williams, S. R. (1989). The influence of mandated tes ting on mathematics instruction: Grade 8 teachers perceptions. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, Center for Educational Research, School of Education, and Office of Educational Research and Improvement of the United States Department of Education.


Marchant & Paulson: High School Graduation Exams 15 R ottenberg, C., & Smith, M. L. (1990, April). Unintended effects of external testing in elementary schools. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Boston. Schemo, D. J. (2003, July 11). Questions on dat a cloud luster of Houston schools. New York Times A1. Schmidt, P. (2000, January 21). Colleges prepare for the fallout from state testing policies The Chronicle of Higher Education A26 28. Smith, M. L. (1991). Put to the test: the effects of exte rnal testing on teachers. Educational Researcher, 20 (5), 8 11. Wideen, M. F., OShea, T., Pye, I., & Ivany, G. (1997). High stakes testing and the teaching of science. Canadian Journal of Education, 22 428 444. Zwick, R. (2002). Is the SAT a wealth test? Phi Delta Kappan, 84 307 311. About the Authors Gregory J. Marchant is a professor of educational psychology at Ball State University. His research interests focus on the influence of demographic variables on standardized test results. He i s also involved in evaluation and the development of the Learning Assessment Model Project used to demonstrate student learning of teacher candidates. Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Sharon E. Paulson is a prof essor of educational psychology specializing in adolescent development at Ball State University. Her research interests include program evaluation and factors related to school achi e vement during adolescence.


Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 6 16 Education Policy Analysis Archives Editor: Sherman Dorn University of South Florida Production Assistant: Chris Murrell, Arizona State University General questions about appropriateness of topics or particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Sherman Dorn, epaa editor@shermando rn .com EPAA Editorial Board Michael W. Apple University of Wisconsin David C. Berliner Arizona State University Greg Camilli Rutgers University Linda Darling Hammond Stanford University Mark E. Fetler California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Gustavo E. Fischman Arizona State Univeristy Richard Garlikov Birmingham, Alabama Gene V Glass Arizona State University Thomas F. Green Syracuse University Aimee Howley Ohio University Craig B. Howley Appalachia Educational Laboratory William Hunter University of Ontario Institute of Technology Patricia Fey Jarvis Seattle, Washington Daniel Kalls Ume University Benjamin Levin University of Manitoba Thomas Mauhs Pugh Green Mountain College Les McLean University of Toronto Heinrich Mintrop University of California, Berkeley M ichele Moses Arizona State University Gary Orfield Harvard University Anthony G. Rud Jr. Purdue University Jay Paredes Scribner University of Missouri Michael Scriven Western Michigan University Lorrie A Shepard University of Colorado, Boulder Robert E. Stake University of Illinois UC Kevin Welner University of Colorado, Boulder Terrence G. Wiley Arizona State University John Willinsky University of British Columbia


Marchant & Paulson: High School Graduation Exams 17 Archivos Analticos de Polticas Educativas As sociate Editors Gustavo E. Fischman & Pablo Gentili Arizona State University & Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Founding Associate Editor for Spanish Language (1998 2003) Roberto Rodrguez Gmez Editorial Board Hugo Aboites Universidad Autnom a Metropolitana Xochimilco Adrin Acosta Universidad de Guadalajara Mxico Claudio Almonacid Avila Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educacin, Chile Dalila Andrade de Oliveira Univer sidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brasil Alejandra Birgin Ministerio de Educacin, Argentina Teresa Bracho Centro de Investigacin y Docencia Econmica CIDE Alejandro Canales Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico Ursula Casanova Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona Sigfredo Chiroque Instituto de Pedagoga Popular, Per Erwin Epstein Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois Mariano Fernndez Enguita Universidad de Salamanca. Espaa Gaudncio Frigotto Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil Rollin Kent Universidad Autnoma de Puebla. Puebla, Mxico Walter Kohan Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil Roberto Leher Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil Daniel C. Lev y University at Albany, SUNY, Albany, New York Nilma Limo Gomes Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte Pia Lindquist Wong California State University, Sacramento, California Mara Loreto Egaa Programa Interdisciplinario de Investigacin e n Educacin Mariano Narodowski Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Argentina Iolanda de Oliveira Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brasil Grover Pango Foro Latinoamericano de Polticas Educativas, Per Vanilda Paiva Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro, Br asil Miguel Pereira Catedratico Universidad de Granada, Espaa Angel Ignacio Prez Gmez Universidad de Mlaga Mnica Pini Universidad Nacional de San Martin, Argentina Romualdo Portella do Oliveira Universidade de So Paulo Diana Rhoten Social Scienc e Research Council, New York, New York Jos Gimeno Sacristn Universidad de Valencia, Espaa Daniel Schugurensky Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Canada Susan Street Centro de Inve stigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropologia Social Occidente, Guadalajara, Mxico Nelly P. Stromquist University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California Daniel Suarez Laboratorio de Politicas Publicas Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina Antonio Teodoro Universidade Lusfona Lisboa, Carlos A. Torres UCLA Jurjo Torres Santom Universidad de la Corua, Espaa


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