Study Shows Test Scores Up Since NCLB

by ekramer on June 17, 2009

A study released today finds most state test scores have risen since No Child Left Behind while others have mixed results. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

In 2002, No Child Left Behind became law to improve the performance of primary and secondary schools. The Center for Education Policy has analyzed state test scores since then and found most students scored higher in reading and math.

The report from the non-profit research group analyses student test scores from 50 states.

The study was made to determine if students really know more since No Child Left Behind became law in 2002, says Jack Jennings, the center’s director. This study indicates most do.

“Across the board, there seem to be increases in test scores on state tests used for NCLB purposes,” Jennings says. “And we have not found any conclusive evidence that NCLB’s emphasis on achieving proficiency has been to the determent of students at the high end or the low end.”

Some have questioned if No Child Left Behind shortchanges students outside of the proficiency level the law specifically sets out to raise.

The study only used data collected on Kentucky since 2007, because of broad changes made in the state test. It was insufficient to determine any trends, says Jennings.

Indiana’s scores showed mixed results, which Jennings says could be a signal for the state.

“It might be time to revisit the standards in Indiana and revisit the tests,” he says.” And it might be time to think of putting in a greater effort to increase achievement in Indiana.”

Jennings says while most scores were up, there were areas for concern.

“Even though there are increases at all three grade levels — elementary, middle and high — the increases at the high school level were fewer than at the elementary or middle school level,” he says.

In many states, high school student test scores have declined or been stagnant since No Child Left Behind became law in 2002. The study shows scores in Indiana and Kentucky match that trend. However, Jennings warns data from Kentucky was too limited to make any conclusive assessments.

Jennings says No Child Left Behind has had a part in improved scores, but also credits 20 years of reform efforts made at the national, state and local levels.

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