Thursday, December 3, 2015

NCLB should not get credit for improvement in math scores

Response to LA Times letter written by Tracy Young, Director of Education Reform at the George W. Bush Institute. Ms. Young worked for Margaret Spellings during her last year as Secretary of Education under President GW Bush. Ms. Spellings made the same claims Ms. Young did in her letter, and I wrote similar responses.

NCLB should not get credit for improvement in math scores
Sent to the Los Angeles Times, Dec. 3, 2015

Tracy Young ("True reform in education," Dec 3) incorrectly claims that NCLB (No Child Left Behind) was the reason for improvement among Hispanic and American-African fourth graders from 1999 to 2008 on the NAEP (National Assessment of Education Progress) math test. 

The data, however, shows Hispanic and American-African nine year olds made substantial gains on the NAEP before NCLB took effect, with scores rising steadily since the test was first administered in 1973. 

Also, the gains claimed for NCLB between 1999 and 2008 are highly suspect.  The largest gains for both Hispanic and American-African students during this time period occured between 1999 and 2004.  NCLB was signed into law on January 8, 2002.  William Mathis of the University of Vermont concluded that NCLB only began to reach full implementation in 2006.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

The data: Figures 23 and 24 of The Nation's Report Card, covering mathematics scores from 1973 to 2012.
Full implementation: William Mathis, 2006. The Accuracy and Effectiveness of Adequate Yearly Progress, NCLB's School Evaluation System. The Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice. East Lansing, MI.

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