The Effects of State-Mandated Testing on Educational Outcomes

Dean R. Lillard, Cornell University

This paper investigates how state-mandated tests and policies governing those tests have affected educational performance and dropout behavior of youth. The project takes advantage of a unique compilation of state testing policies for all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Because the testing policy data cover the history of state-mandated testing in each state, I am able to map the testing regime faced in grades K-12 by successive youth cohorts. The longitudinal map of test policies to individuals allows me to exploit greater cross-state and temporal variation in testing policies. In addition to simple counts of tests administered in particular grades, I bring to bear variation in the type of tests, the subject tested, and whether test results were used to retain, assign to remedial education, or graduate students from one grade to another. Policy data are mapped to data on individuals from the NLSY79, HSB, NELS, and NLSY97.

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Presented in Session 142: Educational Attainment: Social and Economic Issues