Student Drawings

K-12 Testing

"What Can Student Drawings Tell Us about High Stakes Testing in Massachusetts?" a two-part study of student responses to taking the Massachusetts state tests (MCAS), found that about 40% of test takers portrayed themselves as anxious, angry, or pessimistic about their prospects of passing, or withdrawn from testing. Some critiqued the test as long, boring, difficult and confusing.


Students in grades 4, 8 and 10 were asked by participating teachers to "draw a picture of yourself taking the MCAS." Based on the study’s findings, researchers Anne Wheelock, Walt Haney and Damian Bebell conclude that using high-stakes tests to get students to work harder may actually backfire and reduce motivation for many, particularly older and urban students. The report, published by Teachers College Record, contains 80 representative drawings.


• Two articles are available:
From the Center for Study of Testing, Boston College; (617) 552-4521.
Also on the web at