Sunday, July 16, 2017

Schools Haunted by Ghost of No Child Left Behind Act | Observer

Schools Haunted by Ghost of No Child Left Behind Act | Observer:

Schools Haunted by Ghost of No Child Left Behind Act


More than 15 years ago, George W. Bush signed into law the bipartisan “No Child Left Behind Act,” which relied heavily on high-stakes standardized testing. Even though the bill was replaced by the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” those high stakes standardized tests could still reemerge at the state level. But does all of this standardized testing actually improve student performance?
No Child Left Behind Act
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act called for a number of changes and reforms, but its signature item was the standardized testing rigor. Standardized tests existed before NCLB, but the big difference was that NCLB bureaucrats could base their decisions on them; Test scores were used not only to evaluate performance but also to decide whether a school would keep its doors open.
NCLB supporters started their evaluation in 2005 and claimed there was progress between 2000 and 2005 (ignoring 2003, for some reason). Researchers Thomas Dee and Brian A. Jacob found gains for 4th grade math (about 25 percent of the improvement could be attributed to NCLB) from 1997 to 2007, slight but insignificant gains in 8th grade math, and no change in reading scores over a decade for fourth or eighth grade students. Even setting the bar low didn’t help.
Comparing The Results: NCLB vs. Local Control
The Pew Research Center just released data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), dubbed “The Nation’s Report Card” from 1990 to 2015 in math, the one area where NCLB could possibly count any success based on past reports. And here’s what we learned.
Among 4th graders in math, we had five percent considered “advanced” in 2005. Today, it’s seven percent. In 2005, 31 percent were graded “proficient.” Today, 33 percent are proficient. Back in 2005, 44 percent were considered “basic” in math. Today, that number is 42 percent. Finally, 20 percent were judged to be below basic in math. Now, that number has fallen to 18 percent.
It’s a similar story for 8th graders. In 2005, six percent were advanced; in 2015, eight percent are. In 2005, 24 percent were proficient; in 2015, it’s 25 percent. Basic scores went from 39 percent to 37 percent. Finally, for those below basic, it’s fallen from 31 percent in 2005 to 29 percent in 2015. In other words, there has been very little change.
Now, consider the story of what happened before NCLB and the high-stakes Schools Haunted by Ghost of No Child Left Behind Act | Observer:

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