Publications & Resources

A Survey of Teachers’ Perspectives on High-Stakes Testing in Colorado: What Gets Taught, What Gets Lost

Feb 2003

Grace Taylor, Lorrie Shepard, Freya Kinner and Justin Rosenthal

Using a random sample of 1000 Colorado teachers, the researchers in this study surveyed the effects of standards, the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP), and school report cards on instruction and test-related practices. The researchers found that standards were perceived to have a greater impact on improving instruction than did testing. Teachers said they aligned their curriculum, instruction, and lessons to the Colorado standards by adding important content. Specifically, attention to the state standards improved the quality of writing instruction and focused instruction in reading, probability, geometry, and math problem-solving explanations. The reported effects of CSAP testing were more mixed. Attention to CSAP improved writing instruction but shifted instruction away from social studies and science, increased the time spent on test format practice, and lowered faculty morale.

Taylor, G., Shepard, L., Kinner, F., & Rosenthal, J. (2003). A survey of teachers’ perspectives on high-stakes testing in Colorado: What gets taught, what gets lost (CSE Report 588). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).