High Stakes Testing, Literacy Wars, Globalisation and Asia

  • Marilyn Kell
  • Peter Kell
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 24)


This chapter describes the background and context for what has been termed “high stakes testing” and the growth of international student achievement tests in literacy and numeracy. Testing has been popularised through a perception that testing is a scientific and unbiased form of monitoring the performance of students and schooling systems. There is a growing reliance on the use of testing to evaluate the performance of students, teachers and school systems but the chapter identifies problems and issues as well. This includes problems from teachers “teaching to the test”, the narrowing of curriculum options and a reliance on passive forms of learning based on rote learning, memorisation and recall to pass tests. The chapter also argues that testing can reinforce inequality and that testing methodologies promote sorting and gating processes that reduce options and opportunities for many students. The chapter also describes the context in which East Asian countries, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and more recently China have exhibited high levels of achievement in international student achievement tests.


National Curriculum High Stake High Stake Testing High Ranking School Improve Minority Group 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marilyn Kell
    • 1
  • Peter Kell
    • 2
  1. 1.Charles Darwin UniversityDarwinAustralia
  2. 2.School of EducationCharles Darwin UniversityDarwinAustralia

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