Jacob part of expert line-up on State of Opportunity special on high stakes testing

January 16, 2014

In a State of Opportunity broadcast, Brian Jacob discusses the impact of high stakes testing, particularly for low-income students and school districts. High stakes testing refers to standardized tests with results that have important consequences for students, teachers, schools or districts at large. State of Opportunity brought together a panel of experts to discuss the effect of this kind of testing, which has been on the rise in the wake of No Child Left Behind.

Jacob was asked about the often charged reactions to the high stakes testing question. He explained that this issue garners such emotional responses because education is such a deeply relevant issue for almost everyone, noting, "really everyone has had a personal experience with the education system."

When asked about the disproportionate effect on low-income students, Jacob responded that it is important to consider the impact both on individual students and the larger institutions that serve them. He noted that high stakes testing can be "a double-edged sword," acknowledging that there have been unintended consequences, like teachers narrowing their curriculums, but also that the testing prompted by No Child Left Behind has led to noticeable improvements in achievement for low-income students. He also stressed the value of the data these tests provide, stating, "I wouldn't want to see us go back to a time when we had less information about student performance."