BY Matt Barnum
Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade are often free of the high-stakes testing common in later grades — but those years are still high-stakes for students’ learning and development.
That means it’s a big problem when schools encourage their least effective teachers to work with their youngest students. And a new study says that the pressure of school accountability systems may be encouraging exactly that.
“Evidence on the importance of early-grades learning for later life outcomes suggests that a system that pushes schools to concentrate ineffective teachers in the earliest grades could have serious unintended consequences,” write study authors Jason Grissom of Vanderbilt and Demetra Kalogrides and Susanna Loeb of Stanford.
The research comes at an opportune time. All 50 states are in the middle of crafting new systems designed to hold schools accountable for student learning. And this is just the latest study to point out just how much those systems matter — for good and for ill.