Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NCLB Assessment and Accountability

Back to NCLB  (parent link) |  School Reform Lexicon | Table of Contents

Source of following quote: http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2007/RAND_MG589.pdf

The standards-based accountability (SBA) provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 requires each state to
  • develop content and achievement standards in several subjects,
  • administer tests to measure students’ progress toward these standards,
  • develop targets for performance on these tests, and
  • impose a series of interventions on schools and districts that do not meet the targets.
Reported Changes at the Classroom Level Included Both Desirable and Undesirable Responses.  Teachers noted ..efforts to align instruction with standards and efforts to improve their own practices... narrowing of curriculum and instruction toward tested topics and even toward certain problem styles or formats. Teachers also reported focusing more on students near the proficient cut score (i.e., “bubble kids”) and expressed concerns about negative effects of the accountability requirements on the learning opportunities given to high-achieving students....

Conclusions.  This monograph suggests reasons for both optimism and concern...SBA is leading to an emphasis on student achievement...but teacher and administrator responses suggest that a single-minded emphasis on student proficiency on tests has some potentially negative consequences such as a narrowing of curriculum and a decline in staff morale.'

The following articles were found by entering "NCLB" as a search term at this URL: http://www.cse.ucla.edu/products/rsearch.asp. This URL was found as a link on the ed.gov-NCLB website.

  • Herman, J. (2007), Accountability and Assessment: Is Public Interest in K-12 Education Being Served?, CRESST Report 728 (33 pp.); Summary: The report  defines 'public interest' and examines "whether and how accountability assessment influences students’ learning opportunities and the relationship between accountability and learning."
  • Mintrop, H. and T. Trujillo (2005), Corrective Action in Low-Performing Schools: Lessons for NCLB Implementation from State and District Strategies in First-Generation Accountability Systems, CSE Report 657. Summary: "This paper explores what lessons we can learn from the experiences of [two larger districts (Chicago and Philadelphia) and three smaller and four larger] states that instituted NCLB-like accountability systems prior to 2001...[Our analysis revealed] eight 'lessons': sanctions are not the fallback solution; no single strategy has been universally successful; staging should be handled with flexibility; intensive capacity building is necessary; a comprehensive bundle of strategies is key; relationship-building needs to complement powerful programs; competence reduces conflict; and strong state commitment is needed to create system capacity."
  • Haertel, E. and J. Herman (2005), A Historical Perspective on Validity Arguments for Accountability Testing, CSE Report 654. Summary: "...Those students and schools that are [failing to meet learning standards] should be held accountable. Of course, the rationales for accountability testing programs are much more complex than that, as are testing's effects, both intended and unintended. In this chapter, we describe various rationales for accountability testing programs over the past century. .. Our goals are first, to illustrate the diversity of mechanisms whereby testing may affect educational practice and learning outcomes; and second, to show that while many of the same ideas have recurred over time in different forms and guises, accountability testing has become more sophisticated."

No comments: