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Institute of Education State-Wide Exit Examination Study


This study is being conducted against the backdrop of experiences and empirical results from other countries where standardized achievement tests and state-wide exit examinations have been already been carried out on a large scale. The previous studies on this topic do not present a consistent picture, however, regarding the implementation of state-wide exit examinations and their effects on school processes and outcomes. Furthermore, differential effects are likely depending on the monitoring system (e.g., the extent to which it includes high-stakes elements for schools, teachers, and students) or the testing system, which means that the results of studies on the Anglo-American countries are only applicable to the German-speaking countries to a limited extent. Furthermore the empirical evidence is sparse. Above all, there is a lack of studies that systematically examine the process of implementing state-wide exit examinations as carried out in Germany according to a range of criteria (e.g., student achievement, grading standards, instructional design, student learning and teacher behavior) from a longitudinal perspective.

To fill this gap, the current study examines the processes of implementing this reform and its effects on students and teachers, as well as on instruction, schools, and the educational system over a number of years, allowing long-term effects to be identified. The overarching analytical approach is related to theoretical models of educational governance research (see Altrichter & Maag Merki, 2010) and school quality and school effectiveness research (Ditton, 2007; Fend, 2000; Scheerens & Bosker, 1997; Townsend, 2007). The analyses that comprise the study take different perspectives into account, particularly those of teachers and students, as well as data from standardized surveys, achievement tests, and grades. As a result, the effects of implementing state-wide exit examinations can be evaluated on a broad empirical basis.

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