K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Learn more about high-stakes testing

Benchmark assessments
This reference article discusses the concept of benchmark assessments, including arguments for and against standardized benchmark testing and best practices in creating teacher-developed benchmark assessments.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Lesson plans collection policy
In Web Publishing & Collaboration Guide, page 1.1
LEARN NC's policies for accepting lesson plans for publication and managing its collection of lesson plans.
Format: article/help
Project-based learning
Project-based learning is a teaching approach that engages students in sustained, collaborative real-world investigations. Projects are organized around a driving question, and students participate in a variety of tasks that seek to meaningfully address this...
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Experiential education
This article explains the history and theory of experiential education, which combines active learning with concrete experiences, abstract concepts, and reflection in an effort to engage all learning styles.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
High school history and English: Natural partners
In Where English and history meet: A collaboration guide, page 1
Strategically plan a collaborative unit and overcome those everyday obstacles that prevent success. While this article focuses specifically on English-history collaboration, there is much to kindle the interest of any high school teachers.
By Karen Cobb Carroll, Ph.D., NBCT.

Find all 7 resources in our collection.

Uses of standardized achievement tests that carry serious consequences for students and educators.

See also accountability.

Additional information

In this accountability system, students, educators, and schools face consequences based on test scores. High scores on assessments may bring public praise and/or financial reward; low scores may result in retention of students, public embarrassment or sanctions.

Advocates of high-stakes testing argue that they are an effective means of measuring student learning and teacher and school effectiveness in a way that holds all parties accountable. It is assumed that the high-stakes aspect of accountability focuses student and teacher attention on the most critical information and motivates teachers and students to perform better.

Opponents of high-stakes measures argue that they narrow the curriculum and reduce instruction and learning to rote activities designed only to improve test performance (”teaching to the test”) and that the tests unfairly penalize students who do not perform well on standardized tests for a variety of reasons.