F. Shivonje, S. L. Wasula


High stakes testing involves attaching consequences (stakes) to test scores. This in education implies that the teacher and students will automatically be held accountable of their performance. Globally high stakes testing is the operational system because most states have resorted to standards which are only achievable with monitoring of education operations. The danger however could be the effects it might have on teaching and learning. This researcher set out to establish the context, form or nature of high stakes testing, what educators and even the student think about it. The research further determined the implications it has on teaching and the Kenya education process. In a nutshell, this study was to determine how high stakes testing affects what the teachers teach and how they teach. This research design was quantitative and qualitative, targeting teachers in both primary and secondary schools in the Kakamega district and also expose facto to establish the cause and effect of high–stakes testing from researches by the American Research Association (2002) and other relevant studies in the area of testing. The results were such that the teachers indicated that tests were used for accountability purposes causing them to teach to the test in the later classes. However, most teachers agreed that high-stakes tests were necessary to maintain standards. The students argued that there is need to review the global trends as well as nature of assessment in Kenya so that tests are not used as a mechanism in a single defined assessment and a consequence for pass and failure, it is time to tailor exams to contribute to performance towards socio-economic equitable and performance related conditions.


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