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Review Questions Fordham Conclusions on High Achievers


Which students are improving fastest in the NCLB era: those at the top or the bottom of the achievement ladder?

The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation issued a report last month suggesting that the test scores of those in the bottom 10 percent of achievement are rising faster than those in the top 10 percent. The study cited scores from the state version of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

When the report came out, I asked: Doesn't this mean NCLB is working as intended?

But the Think Tank Review Project—made up of self-appointed gadflies in their own right—asked its own question: Do other NAEP data substantiate the conclusion? When Gregory Camilli of Rutgers University analyzed data from the national long-term trend NAEP, he found almost no change in the gap between the bottom 10 percent and the top 10 percent. He writes:

In sum, the state and long-term data sets give different results, and this problem needs to be addressed before gap statistics can be used confidently to describe the effects of accountability policies.

As in many debates over education, the research appears to be inconclusive. With the delay in NCLB reauthorization, there will be more chances for researchers to answer the question of whether NCLB has had a positive impact on the achievement of students at all levels.


No Child Left Behind (NCLB) leaves all children behind.

Contrary to what the Fordham Institute claimed, there has been no real progress in helping low-achieving students achieve. Fordham noted that children in the bottom ten percent improved 16 points from 2000 to 2007, but 12 points of this increase occurred between 2000 and 2002, before NCLB was implemented.

Since NCLB has been implemented, low achievers have gained four points. High achievers (top 10%) gained two points during this time, not a large gain for either group.

In 2002 the gap between the high and low achievers was 92 points, in 2007, 90 points. At this rate, it will take 225 years to close the gap between the groups.

I agree with you..
Even I shock with their reports...
I hope within a small period the status is change...

Thank you for valuable info..


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Recent Comments

  • alex45: I agree with you.. Even I shock with their reports... read more
  • Stephen Krashen: No Child Left Behind (NCLB) leaves all children behind. Contrary read more



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