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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Five Issues That Will Decide If the Era of No Child Left Behind is Really Over

No Child Left Behind: What standardized test scores reveal about its legacy
March 10






With
Congress now attempting to rewrite the No Child Left Behind law (the
current version of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary School Act), it’s a
good time to look at what NCLB accomplished and did not accomplish.
Here’s one attempt to answer that question,
and the post below is another, this one looking entirely at
standardized test scores and how “achievement gaps” fared during the
NCLB era.  This seems only fair, since modern school reformers have made
standardized test scores the chief metric of student achievement and
school effectiveness.

Since data is so important to school reformers today, here’s a look at some, by Monty Neill, executive director of  FairTest,
explains in this post. FairTest, or the National Center for Fair and
Open Testing, is dedicated to eliminating the abuse and misuse of
standardized tests.



By Monty Neill

No Child Left
Behind (NCLB) was signed into law in 2002, the latest version of the
long-standing Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Its
provisions, such as testing grades 3-8 annually in reading and math and
punitive sanctions, took effect over the next several years. The law is
more than seven years overdue for reauthorization by Congress. This
year, both the House and Senate are showing strong interest in voting
for a new version.

NCLB provided that the National Assessment of
Educational Progress (NAEP) should be the primary means for evaluating
the success of NCLB.  (NAEP was long referred to as “the nation’s report
card” because it was the only measure of student achievement given
periodically to a sampling of students around the nation.) We can also
consider evidence such as scores on the SAT and ACT college admissions
exams and on the international PISA exams.

Here are key findings, comparing the rate of progress pre- and post NCLB for NAEP and recent trends on SAT and ACT tests:

  • The
    rate of progress on NAEP at grades 4 and 8 was generally faster in the
    decade before NCLB took effect than since. That is a consistent trend
    both overall and for individual demographic groups, including blacks,
    English Language Learners (ELLs) and students with disabilities.
  • Score gaps in 2012 were no narrower and often wider than they were in 1998 and 1990.
  • The slowdown in math was pronounced, especially at grade 4.
  • In many cases, the rate of gain slowed even more after 2007.
  • Score gains slowed after NCLB for English language learners, while score gaps increased between ELLs and non-ELLs.
  • In
    three of four grades/tests, scores for students with disabilities
    flattened or declined, while gaps with whites remained unchanged or
    widened.
  • Scores for high school students have stagnated. NAEP
    scores were highest for blacks, and gaps the narrowest, in 1988.
    Hispanic scores and gaps have stagnated since NCLB.
  • SAT scores declined from 2006 to 2014 for all demographic groups except Asians.
  • ACT scores have been flat since 2010 for all demographic groups.
  • PISA scores have declined from 2002 to 20132.
NCLB’s
failure to even raise scores on other standardized exams should be
considered in light of widespread evidence of curriculum narrowing and
extensive teaching to the test. Other serious problems, such as pushing
low-scorers out of school and widespread cheating scandals, are also
part of the steep price paid for NCLB’s testing fixation.

The documents below present the evidence in detail.



NAEP Score Changes 1992-2003-2007-2013

http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_2013/#/gains-by-group

NAEP
“Main” reports scores in reading and math every two years, including
national and state-level scores, as well as by demographic groups.

Overall:

Math results show an overall slowdown in growth under NCLB, while reading saw very modest increase in the rate of progress.

Grade
4 math: from 1992 to  2003 scores rose 18 points, while from 2003 to
2013 they rose 7 points, but only 2 points from 2007-2013, the period in
which NCLB and then Race to the Top/NCLB waivers became entrenched.

Grade
8 math: rose 18 points from  1992 to 2003, then 12 points from
2003-2013, though from 2007-2013 the gain was 4 points – again, an
indicator of a slowdown in rate of progress.



Grade 4 reading: rose 1 point from 1992-2003, then 4 points from 2o03-2013.

Gr 8 reading: 1992-2003 saw a 3-point gain, then a 5-point gain from 2003-2013.



Comparisons among White, Black and Hispanic Test-takers:

Here
are scores to compare whites, blacks, and Hispanics plus score gap
changes with whites in a table; size of gaps with whites are in
parentheses, and size of the group’s gain since previous test listed in
the chart is in brackets; with some notes especially looking back to
2005 and 2007.

Math grade 4 White Black Hispanic Disability
1992 227 193 (34) 202 (25) 204 (23) {1996}
2003 243 216 (27) [23] 222 (21) [20] 214 (29) [10]
2007 248 222 (26) [6] 227 (21) [5] 220 (28) [8]
2013 250 224 (26) [2] 231 (19) [4] 218 (32) [-2]


Black: No gap closure since 2003; black gain was 23 points pre-NCLB and 8 points under NCLB.

Hispanic: Gap closed 2 points since 2003; gain was 20 points pre-NCLB and 9 points under NCLB.

Disability: The gap with whites has widened, while since 2007, scores have declined 2 points.



Math grade 8 White Black Hispanic Disability
1992 277 237(40) 249 (28) 231 (46){1996}
2003 288 252 (36) [15] 259 (29) [10] 242 (46) [11]
2007 291 260 (32) [8] 265 (26) [6] 246 (45) [4]
2013 294 263 (31) [3] 272 (22) [7] 249 (45) [3]


Black: Gap has closed only one point since 2007; gains were 15 points pre-NCLB and 11 points under NCLB.

Hispanic: Gaps closed 1 point pre-NCLB and 7 points under NCLB; gains were 10 points pre-NCLB and 13 points under NCLB.

Disability:
Rate of gain slowed under NCLB, gap did not close. A look in further
detail shows students with disabilities scored 249 in both 2009 and
2013, indicating zero gain during the ‘waiver’ period.



Reading grade 4 White Black Hispanic Disability
1992 224 192 (32) 197 (27) 176 (48) {1998}
2003 229 198 (31) [6] 200 (29) [3] 185 (44) [9]
2007 231 203 (27) [5] 205 (26) [5] 191 (40) [6]
2013 232 206 (26) [3] 207 (25) [2] 184 (48) [-7]


Black: Closure was 1 point pre-NCLB and 5 points under NCLB; gains were 6 points pre NCLB and 8 points post NLCB, 3 since 2007.

Hispanic:
Closed 2 points pre-NCLB and 4 points under NCLB, but from 2007 to 2013
there was a 1-point closure; gains were 3 points pre-NCLB and 7 points
under NCLB, but 2 points from 2007-2013.

Disability: Scores
declined markedly under NCLB after an initial rise so the 2013 scores
are back to 2003 levels (just at the start of NCLB). Gap is back to 1992
level.



Reading grade 8 White Black Hispanic Disability
1992 267 237 (30) 241 (26) 224 (43) {1998}
2003 272 244 (28) [7] 245 (27) [4] 225 (47) [1]
2007 272 245 (27) [1] 247 (25) [2] 227 (45) [2]
2013 276 250 (26) [5] 256 (20) [9] 232 (44) [5]


Black:
Gap narrowed 2 points pre-NCLB and 6 points under NCLB; 7-point gain
pre-NCLB and 6-point gain under NCLB, but note that data shows 1 point
improvement from 2011 to 2013.

Hispanic: Gap widened 1 point
pre-NCLB, narrowed 7 points under NCLB. Gains were 4 points pre-NCLB, 11
points under NLCB, with largest gain from 2007-2013.

Disability:
Unlike grade 4 or both grades in math, scores rose more under NCLB
while gap closed very slightly. Scores went up 1 point in 2009 and 2011,
indicated only very small gains in later NCLB period.



NAEP Long Term Trend Scores For 17-Year Olds

Scores
and gaps are largely stagnant overall for 17-year olds on the long-term
NAEP. Long-term trend is a separate test from NAEP main. It has scores
back to 1971 in reading. The most recent report covers the 2012
assessment administration.



Reading:

  • Black
    students high score was in 1988 (274), 5 points higher than in 2012
    (269). 1988 saw the narrowest score gap with whites (20 points), vs 26
    points in 2012.
  • Hispanics’ high score was in 1990 (275), 1
    point higher than in 2012 (274). The gap was 22 points in 1990, the
    narrowest until it was 21 points in 2012.
Math:

  • Blacks’ highest score was 289 in 1990, compared with 288 in 2012. The gap was 21 points in 1990 compared with 26 points in 2012.
  • Hispanics’
    highest score was 294 in 2012, but scores have been essentially
    stagnant since reaching 292 in 1992. The gap was 21 points in 1992 and
    19 points in 2004 and 2012, again showing stagnation.


English Language Learner (ELL)

NAEP Main Results 1998 Reading/1996 Math through 2013*

http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_2013/#/gains-by-group

Overall,
we see stronger gains for ELLs and greater gap closings with those who
are not ELLs prior to NCLB starting to take effect.



Math

Grade 4

1996 – 2003 +13; gap closed 1 point

2003 – 2013 +5; gap widened 2 points

No ELL gain between 2011 and 2013



Grade 8

1996– 2003 + 16; gap closed 9 points

2003 – 2013 +4; gap widened 4 points



Reading

Grade 4

1998 – 2003 +12; gap closed 8 points

2003 – 2013 +1; gap widened by 4, erasing half the earlier gain



Grade 8

1998 – 2003 + 6; gap closed 3 points

2003 – 2013 +3; gap widened 2 points



ELL Grade 12 Long Term Trend, 2004 to 2012 (most recent long-term trend)

Reading fell 7 points from 2004 to 2012

Math scores fell 9 points 2004 to 2012.



* The earliest dates for ELL trends in NAEP main are 1996 in math and 1998 in reading.


PISA Results Show Declines in Reading, Math and Science from 2002-2012



Researcher
Linda Darling-Hammond circulated a chart showing the decline of scores
on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) exams, given periodically to students in dozens of nations.



Source: http://dianeravitch.net/2015/03/04/a-stunning-graphic-on-the-failure-of-test-based-accountability/





Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.

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