Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Stephen Laws


Educators and policymakers have continued to search for the ideal medium for gauging learning and teacher accountability. After nearly 50 years since the inception of assessments to prove minimum competency, many attempts have been made to reform the process and the assessment tool. With the current focus in education being on career and college readiness and 21st century skills, the purpose of this study was to determine if high-stakes testing contributes to college and career readiness. College and career readiness and 21st century skills have been considered qualities needed to remain competitive in the global workplace. The most desirable qualities have been critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills, and judgment and decision-making skills. College freshmen from a community college and a 4-year college were the participants of this mixed-methodology study. The sample was determined by students enrolled in English 111 or the equivalent, due to this being a requirement for all regardless of career path. Those participating were categorized by gender and the number of years since graduation from high school. Questions were presented through Likert-style surveys as well as interviews, that determined their experiences with high-stakes testing at their respective schools. Data collected were very similar when compared by years since graduation but changed significantly when compared by gender. Key findings included students’ desire to be assessed by a portfolio of project-based assignments rather than a single, multiple-choice exam. Myths about the negative connotation that follow high-stakes tests were debunked. Implications of the findings included student choice in the manner in which they are being assessed and the use of multiple projects for determining content mastery.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License