Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Mari Ann Graham


Social Work


The purpose of this research was to explore the impact of high-stakes testing on the learning environment in public schools, focusing on perceptions by teachers, administrative personnel and school social workers. This research was based on the literature that documented how the learning environment in public schools has been affected by high-stakes testing implemented as a result of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). While increases in testing has affected all students, the literature shows that it has marginalized sub-groups of at- risk students, including students with disabilities and students of color. The methodology for this research used a qualitative design that focused on obtaining research perspectives from teachers and other school professionals. Following the methodology, the results of the findings was presented through several different themes: English Language Learners are overly tested, teachers are unable to form healthy relationships with their students, and the loss of subjects and the narrowing the curriculum. This research is important because it provides an important foundation for school social workers and other school personnel given very recent changes in federal legislation designed to improve the learning environment while continuing to hold schools accountable.

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