Wednesday, June 06, 2007

NCLB and Test Scores

[Kevin Drum] Here's the headline in the Washington Post today:

Test Scores Soar After 'No Child'

Now, this is a peculiar headline since the second paragraph of the accompanying story admits, "The study's authors warned that it is difficult to say whether or how much the No Child Left Behind law is driving the achievement gains." And indeed, the study from the Center on Education Policy (available here) goes to considerable pains to emphasize that the trend they're reporting started before NCLB was enacted. This, along with other factors, makes it very difficult to say whether, or how much, NCLB is responsible for the gains since 2002.

But put that aside for a moment. An even better question is: even if state test scores are rising, does that indicate that student achievement is also increasing? Bob Somerby suspects that rising scores might actually be due to dumbed down tests, and unfortunately, the study itself suggests he's right. . . [read on]

1 comment:

E Wayne Ross said...

As Sandra Mathison points out on her blog (which reposts an op-ed on NCLB by Francis Shrag) evaluation involves more than efficacy, and NCLB advocates point to an effect (increased test scores) without considering the presence of harmful (unanticipated?) outcomes.