Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor's Name

Leondard B. Bliss

First Advisor's Committee Title

Professor, Educational Statistics

Second Advisor's Name

Elizabeth Cramer

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Associate Professor, Special Education

Third Advisor's Name

Hilary Landorf

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Associate Professor, Social Studies Education

Fourth Advisor's Name

Kyle Perkins

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Accreditation

Date of Defense



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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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


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.





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