Perceptions of Middle and High School Principals in Virginia on High-Stakes Testing

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Tech

The purpose of this study was to identify perceptions of middle and high school principals in Virginia regarding high-stakes testing. Perceptions were assessed regarding unintended consequences impacting the principals' role and their alignment with professional and scholarly literature.

There were 22 findings emerging from this study. One of the findings revealed that principals perceived the necessity of instructional leadership as opposed to simply acting as school managers. The findings also revealed that middle and high school principals strongly agreed that high-stakes testing resulted in a loss of instructional time and that there has been a narrowing of the curriculum; however there now was a clearer alignment of the written, taught, and tested curriculum.

Additionally, the findings revealed that less than 50% of middle and high school principals believed that high-stakes testing had helped close the achievement gap between minority and majority students. One of the most prevalent findings focused on the stress exhibited by students, teachers and administrators, all due to high-stakes testing.

One hundred and sixty-six Virginia middle and high school principals participated in this study. An electronic survey instrument was used to rate 31 statements derived from the scholarly literature regarding the unintended consequences and perceptions of high-stakes testing of middle and high school leaders in Virginia.

accountability, high-stakes testing, principal