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1 Introduction
Pages 7-12

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From page 7...
... Test-based accountability systems provide policy makers with poten tially powerful but blunt tools to influence what happens in local schools and classrooms. These policies attach consequences to assessments by holding educators and students accountable for achieving at certain levels on tests.
From page 8...
... The 1988 reauthorization of ESEA required Title I schools with stagnant or declining test scores to file improvement plans with their districts. The standards-based reform movement of the early 1990s led to the requirement in the 1994 ESEA reauthorization for states to create rigorous content and performance standards and report student test results in terms of the standards (National Research Council, 1997, p.
From page 9...
... The committee's charge was to review and synthesize research about how incentives affect behavior that would have implications for educational accountability systems that attach incentives to test results. The project originated in the recognition that there is important research about what happens when incentives are attached to measures of performance.
From page 10...
... We note that our focus on incentives that involve the attachment of explicit consequences to test results specifically excludes the broader role that test results can play in informing educators and the public about the performance of the educational system and thereby providing stimulus for improvement. We understand that some readers would have wanted us to have broadened our treatment of "explicit consequences" to have included the publication of test results with its potential of both motivat ing educators to improve and driving policy pressure for reform.
From page 11...
... Chapter 3 looks at the use of tests as performance measures that have incentives attached to them, considering some key ways the effect of incentives is influenced by the characteristics of the tests and the performance measures that are constructed from test results. Chapter 4 reviews research about the use of test-based incentives within educa tion, specifically looking at accountability policies with consequences for schools, teachers, and students.
From page 12...
... . In addition to the role played by incentives themselves, researchers have noted the importance of clear goals, appropriate educational standards, tests aligned to the standards and suitable for accountability purposes, help ful test reporting, available alternative actions and teaching methods to improve student learning, and the capacity of educators to apply those alternative actions and teaching methods.

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