Plank & Condliffe Pressures of the Season: An examination of Classroom Quality and High Stakes Accountability

Plank, S. B., & Condliffe, B. F. (2013). Pressures of the season: An examination of classroom quality and high-stakes accountability. American Educational Research Journal, 50(5), 1152-1182.


Summary: This study used two years of observation data in 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms to examine classroom quality in an era of high stakes accountability. The study found that there was an inverse relationship between accountability pressure and classroom quality. Classroom quality was lower when classrooms were under the greatest pressure to increase student performance on test scores.

Data Sources:

Mixed methods

2 years observation data in 2nd and 3rd grade - totalling 348 observations in 23 classrooms (first year 2nd grade; second year 3rd grade)

The study occurred in Baltimore, MD in Baltimore City Public Schools.

The study also noted time, looking at different seasons in the classroom.



"Our finding that the quality of instructional support in second and third grade classrooms differed in the monghts leading up to the high-stakes assessment, but was indistinguishable by May when accountability presssure had subsided, is consistent with teh claim that the educators of our third grade classrooms were affected by teh pressures associated with high-stakes accountabiliity" (p. 1173)."