AERA Position Statement on High-Stakes Testing

The American Educational Research Association is the foremost and most respected national educational research society. Below is their opinions on using high-stakes testing in admissions.

This position statement on high-stakes testing is based on the 1999 Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. The Standards represent a professional consensus concerning sound and appropriate test use in education and psychology. They are sponsored and endorsed by the AERA together with the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME). This statement is intended as a guide and a caution to policy makers, testing professionals, and test users involved in high-stakes testing programs.

Protection Against High-Stakes Decisions Based on a Single Test
Decisions that affect individual students’ life chances or educational opportunities should not be made on the basis of test scores alone. Other relevant information should be taken into account to enhance the overall validity of such decisions. As a minimum assurance of fairness, when tests are used as part of making high-stakes decisions for individual students such as promotion to the next grade or high school graduation, students must be afforded multiple opportunities to pass the test. More importantly, when there is credible evidence that a test score may not adequately reflect a student’s true proficiency, alternative acceptable means should be provided by which to demonstrate attainment of the tested standards.