No Child Left Behind (NCLB) MANDATED yearly standardized testing. But there was never any proof provided that standardized testing “worked” as a reform. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the nation from adopting this abomination of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
NCLB established “federal accountability” based on student test performance. But testing more doesn’t ensure increased student achievement or school improvement. Yet, the nation’s schools tried for 14 years to make NCLB “work.”
With yearly standardized test scores as NCLB’s foundation, the nation created a federal accountability system based on commercially-developed test “outcomes.” But instead of improving schools, this accountability system was used as a weapon to dismantle public education under the guise of “choice.” When the NCLB experiment began, we did not know with certainty what the final outcome would be. Now, we know.
The Evidence IS IN!
The plausibility of the theory —higher standards will produce better outcomes— presented a logical way to identify the schools in need of help. But researchers and the public quickly recognized that we were simply identifying the same problems without a reasonable solution and the test-based system missed its mark. In short, the theory was founded upon numerous flawed assumptions.
The NCLB theory (outcome-based education) failed to help teachers, principals, students and schools. However, NCLB supporters blamed state standards themselves for not being “high” or rigorous enough. Consequently, in 2015, supporters of the NCLB theory primarily changed the name of the law, terminology, and shifted pieces of the accountability system to states without changing NCLB testing mandates.
Setting “higher”standards and giving “better” tests —in and of itself—does NOT ensure improved student achievement.
The facts are harder to believe than the assumptions we have accepted for decades.
BELOW, the red squares represent the estimated “rigor” of state tests (aligned to state standards). The blue dots represent each state’s (abbreviation on bottom axis) student achievement as judged by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP — a consistent national assessment tool used since the 70’s).
If the rigor of a state’s standards and assessments of those standards were central to student achievement, we would expect to see the red squares and blue dots line up, show a correlation. (Low red squares, low blue dots and visa-versa.)
Was it just an anomaly with reading standards? No.
The lack of a visible correlation appeared in both reading and math, as well as in both 4th and 8th grades. (Bert Stoneberg, K-12 Research Idaho)
Only in 2009? No. Stoneberg repeated his statistical analysis with 2013 NAEP test results. The same lack of correlation between a state’s rigor of standards and student achievement was repeatable.
*** With the advent of common standards and testing, this research may never be repeatable again.*** Stop and think about that!
What NCLB Testing Did To Education — In Reality
Test-Based Federal Reforms:
1. narrowed the curriculum,
2. produced cheating scandals,
3. gave us data without better real-life outcomes,
4. diminished local control and divided communities through “choice.”
What Test-Based Reforms DID NOT DO:
- increase accountability for results,
- narrow the achievement gap, or
- reform schools.
Why didn’t we change the testing mandate of NCLB in its replacement—called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)?
Yearly high-stakes testing is known to be unnecessary, unjustified, and did harm because educational opportunities for generations of students are limited through this test-based policy. Yet, our prolonged silence about the injustices of test-based education “reforms” continues. Time to change that!
It is election season. Start now by discussing this subject with your friends, neighbors, current officials and candidates. SHARE THIS INFORMATION!
CONGRESS and three presidents now have ignored the problems created by this federal education law as have We, the people. It is up to us. Those profiting from ESEA (ESSA) do not want to change it. They won’t go down without a fight.
Note: This page was originally used for a White House petition campaign. This was the ask.
#TimeAgain to make this a demand?
Contact Your Representatives : Help Them Understand the NEED to Reform ESEA in 2020/21