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NEA Urges Caution in Evaluating NCLB Report Findings


CEP report citing gains in narrowing student learning gaps based on incomplete data



June 5, 2007

NEA Urges Caution in Evaluating NCLB Report Findings

CEP report citing gains in narrowing student learning gaps based on incomplete data

WASHINGTON—A report released today by the Center on Education Policy points out the glaring dissimilarities and discrepancies in the data necessary to accurately assess student achievement. Answering the Question that Matters Most: Has Student Achievement Increased Since No Child Left Behind? takes a comparative look at state test scores since 2002, the year NCLB was enacted. Including verifiable data from all 50 states, the report also looks at trends before and after NCLB was passed, eliminating data in grades and subjects where states have made significant changes to their assessment systems.

The National Education Association said the CEP report highlights a major shortfall of the current No Child Left Behind Act: the lack of  comprehensive data from all states. The report concludes that while there is more evidence indicating that the achievement gaps have narrowed rather than widened since 2002, significant gaps remain in student learning. The report emphasizes that test data needed to prepare an accurate picture of achievement gains was not available in many states—in fact, only 13 states had sufficient trend score data to determine whether test scores increased more after NCLB than before, with only nine states showing such verifiable gains. 

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Reg Weaver:

"We applaud CEP in issuing the results of this important analysis of student test scores. Yet we should be cautious and remember that NCLB was not and is not the only education reform effort in place. States and local school boards have been working together for years with teachers and other educators in making significant progress to improve the quality of education that our children receive. If anything, this report should sound an alarm that we are drawing conclusions without all the facts. The report clearly indicates that given the current available data, 'an accurate and complete picture of NCLB is a moving target.' Essentially, the report reinforces that NCLB has done very little to improve accountability and not nearly enough to close the achievement gaps. 

"Our students are looking to us to untangle the lines and clear the confusion. NCLB is not working as intended, and we must come together to find solutions—including smaller class sizes and an improved commonsense accountability system that measures schools and students on more than two statewide test scores. NEA's proposed recommendations to improve NCLB go a long way in providing lawmakers a reform plan that makes sense for all states and is in the best interest of all students. NCLB does little to provide states and local school boards the tools and resources to assess their needs, monitor their progress and measure their success. The CEP report provides further evidence that measuring individual student progress through a single, one-size-fits-all, high-stakes test is not the answer and that NCLB is not living up to its original promises."

For more information on NEA's Positive Agenda for the ESEA Reauthorization and other NCLB issues: click here.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee
organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.