Achievement Up, Gaps Narrowed Since 2002 -- Not Necessarily B/C Of NCLB
Having felt burned last year by how his big annual report last year was covered by blogs and the papers, Jack Jennings' Center On Ed Policy is being especially careful in rolling out its publications this year -- most notably by putting them out in chunks rather than as one big report. The latest piece, out today, is sure to ignite a lot of conversation. It finds that student achievement in reading and math has increased since the No Child Left Behind Act was enacted in 2002, and that the number of states in which achievement gaps among groups of students have narrowed far exceeds the number of states in which gaps widened since 2002.
The report is available here and the state profiles here. According to the press release, the report includes "verified data from all 50 states – much of which is available for the first time in the report – and investigates achievement trends both before and after the passage of NCLB. The report also limits its analysis to testing data that is comparable from year-to-year."
The study identified several possible reasons for the results, including increased learning, teaching to the test, more lenient tests, scoring or data analyses, and changes in the populations tested. “Any or all of these factors in combination could be contributing to these trends,” the report indicates.