High achievers and NCLB

Last month the Brookings Institution published a report on high-achieving students under No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Author Tom Loveless tracked trends in National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores.

Key findings of the report:
  • While the nation’s lowest-achieving youngsters made rapid gains from 2000 to 2007, the performance of top students was languid.
  • This pattern—big gains for low achievers and lesser ones for high achievers—is associated with the introduction of accountability systems in general, not just NCLB.
  • Teachers are much more likely to indicate that struggling students, not advanced students, are their top priority.
  • Low-achieving students receive dramatically more attention from teachers.
  • Still, teachers believe that all students deserve an equal share of attention.
  • Low-income, black, and Hispanic high achievers (on the 2005 eighth-grade math NAEP) were more likely than low achievers to be taught by experienced teachers.

High-Achieving Students in the Era of NCLB (pdf, 86pp/7.3MB), June 2008

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