The Relevance, Effects, and Potential Unintended Consequences of High-Stakes Assessments

by Monica R. Almond
Monday, February 10, 2020


This essay examines the relevance of high-stakes assessments in preparing students to graduate from high school, succeed in postsecondary education, and contribute meaningfully to the rapidly changing economy. It outlines research that questions the relevance of high-stakes assessments—such as college admissions exams and high school exit exams—and highlights the disproportionate negative impact these exams have on communities of color and people from low-income households. The essay charges policy makers and other decision makers to reexamine the function and impact of such assessments.

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About the Author

Monica R. Almond, PhD, is senior associate, policy development and government relations at the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed), a Washington, DC–based national education policy and advocacy organization. Almond leads All4Ed’s research and policy development on career and technical education, college- and career-pathways systems, and state high school graduation requirements.

About the Author