Governments worldwide are changing their educational policies to improve student performance. Some of these reforms involve the introduction of high-stakes testing, which often creates negative effects such as ‘teaching to the test’. This article deals with the use of low-stakes testing in the German states of Hesse and Bremen, and analyses whether statewide low-stakes testing produces comparable results to the use of high-stakes tests from the perspective of teachers. Moreover, it seeks to identify the factors responsible for the observable teaching to the test effect, above and beyond the use of statewide exams. The data come from surveys carried out in the framework of a longitudinal study funded by the German Research Foundation. Hesse and Bremen introduced statewide exit exams in several subjects in 2007 and 2008 as low-stakes tests. Our quasi-experimental study has been evaluating these implementations since 2007.