High-stakes mathematics tests continue to gain popularity in the United States, with an increasing number of states setting the passing of such tests as a high school graduation requirement. Consequently, instruction and instructional content have changed, with teachers emphasizing materials on the test while neglecting other important aspects of learning. The tests have become all-consuming, taking over many students' lives. Yet students are often ill prepared for these tests. This is even more true for African-American students whose cultural and social circumstances make their preparation for high-stakes tests inadequate and ineffective. The author examines six such students - their hopes for the future, their preparation for the tests, and the impact of the tests on their lives.


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