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NEPC Review

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A new report released by the Center on Education Policy, "Answering the Question That Matters Most: Has Student Achievement Increased Since No Child Left Behind?" has received a great deal of attention in the press and is likely to be cited often in the upcoming debate on the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Using states as their unit of analysis, this report concludes that since the implementation of NCLB in 2002, on average, test scores have increased, the achievement gap has narrowed, and achievement gains post-NCLB have increased faster than before NCLB. Despite its attempt and intent to carefully analyze the complex issue of test score improvement before and after the implementation of NCLB in 2002, however, there are some important weaknesses in the analysis that may have resulted in a much more optimistic picture of the impact of the legislation than the data warrant. The report acknowledges several important methodological weaknesses, but other such weaknesses are never mentioned. Among these additional problems are issues of scope, measurement, and selection—all of which ultimately call into question the robustness of the findings, rendering the report’s conclusions far from definitive.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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