The Collateral Damage of Testing Pressure

July 25, 2017

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 Jason Grissom of Vanderbilt and Demetra Kalogrides and Susanna Loeb of Stanford, the authors of the study.