Investigation of escape and negative student behaviors related to Florida state high stakes test preparation in Miami-Dade County Public High Schools

Ilia Molina, Florida International University


The purpose of this study was to determine whether there was a relationship between pressure to perform on state mandated, high-stakes tests and the rate of student escape behavior defined as the number of school suspensions and absences. The state assigned grade of a school was used as a surrogate measure of pressure with the assumption that pressure increased as the school grade decreased. Student attendance and suspension data were gathered from all 33 of the regular public high schools in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The research questions were: Is the number of suspensions highest in the third quarter, when most FCAT preparation takes place for each of the 3 school years 2007-08 through 2009-10? How accurately does the high school's grade predict the number of suspensions and number of absences during each of the 4 school years 2005-06 through 2008-09? The research questions were answered using repeated measures analysis of variance for research question #1 and non-linear multiple regression for research question #2. No significant difference could be found between the numbers of suspensions in each of the grading periods nor was there a relationship between the number of suspensions and school grade. A statistically significant relationship was found between student attendance and school grade. When plotted, this relationship was found to be quadratic in nature and formed a loose inverted U for each of the four years during which data were collected. This indicated that students in very high and very low performing schools had low levels of absences while those in the midlevel of the distribution of school performance (C schools) had the greatest rates of absence. Identifying a relationship between the pressures associated with high stakes testing and student escape behavior suggests that it might be useful for building administrators to reevaluate test preparation activities and procedures being used in their building and to include anxiety reducing strategies. As a relationship was found, it sets the foundation for future studies to identify whether testing related activities are impacting some students emotionally and are causing unintended consequences of testing mandates.

Subject Area

Educational tests & measurements|School administration|Educational psychology|Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

Molina, Ilia, "Investigation of escape and negative student behaviors related to Florida state high stakes test preparation in Miami-Dade County Public High Schools" (2014). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3632542.