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In 2003, Amrein and Berliner reported an increase in students who leave school before graduation coupled with decreased student motivation due to high-stakes testing. This new requirement prompted other studies with respect to academic motivation. Montecel (2004) echoed the finding of Amrein and Berliner in a study where he determined that the high-stakes testing environment was not producing higher numbers of graduates or college enrollees. In a third study, contrary to high-stakes testing proponent claims, these tests do not motivate students (Clarke and Madaus, 2001). Although, the authors do recognize that motivation is a barrier to increased workforce and college preparatory skills.High-stakes tests are undoubtedly working against closing the achievement gap between the haves and have-nots (Wagner, 2003). Exit exams are an example of this statement. According to Amrein and Berliner (2003) enough negative, unintended consequences are attached to high-stakes testing that graduation exams of this nature are questionable. Among the questions is the impact of these tests on student graduation rates. Higher dropout and lower high school completion rates are inevitable, and Reid (2002) cautions of the danger in determining a student’s academic performance solely on the basis of these test scores. Noddings (2002) stated it best when he wrote “to have high expectations for each child does not mean that we must hold the same expectations for all children” (p.75). This statement rings true for high-stakes testing, and resonates even louder when considering high school exit exams.


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