No Child Left Behind Act Term Paper

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¶ … NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND (NCLB) ACT of 2001 is the federal law aimed at the improvement of the education for the students, irrespective of their social, cultural, economic and demographic affiliation. The law has been approved to offer flexibility and choices to the parents; the law accounts the school responsible for the performance of the students, and ensures the promotion of the effective and efficient teaching methodologies. The law has approved the funding towards the incorporation of the provisions aimed at improving the teaching and learning for the students, in particular those affiliated with the economically disadvantaged communities.

George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act into law in January of 2002 (Cronin, Kingsbury, McCall, & Bowe, 2005; Romano, 2005). This act was the largest educational reform bill passed in the United States in many years. NCLB was designed to improve the performance of America's schools by increased accountability measured through standardized testing (Holloway 2001).

One section of the law states that schools and teachers need to be held accountable for students learning the material presented to them (Romano, 2005; Lombardi & Burke, 1999). This controversial act has split the educational community. Proponents feel that NCLB holds school districts accountable for student proficiency. Critics feel that the act is under-funded and penalizes minorities and ignores higher learning (Cronin, Kingsbury, McCall, & Bowe, 2005).Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on No Child Left Behind Act Assignment

NCLB aims at ensuring both academic excellence and equity by providing new opportunities and challenges for states to advance the goal of closing the achievement gap among different racial and socioeconomic groups (Amrein & Berliner, 2002). It relies on standardized testing to ensure that schools make adequate yearly progress (AYP) toward the goal of one-hundred percent proficiency by 2014 (Cronin, Kingsbury, McCall, & Bowe, 2005). Researchers and educators have raised concerns about the negative consequences of NCLB's test-based accountability and its uniform AYP requirement, including its potential to perpetuate or exacerbate existing racial, economic, or geographic inequalities among schools (Holmes, 2006). Also, education advocates, state education officials, and some members of Congress are concerned about unfunded NCLB mandates and call for more serious federal efforts to accomplish the original intent of the law (Popham, 1999).

Achievement levels and gaps constitute important barometers in educational progress (Romano, 2005). Standardized tests provide information on student achievement in the core academic areas. Racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps narrow substantially in the 1970's and early 1980's. During the 1970's, education and social policies work to narrow the achievement gap by guaranteeing a minimally adequate level of achievement for minorities through compensatory education, minimum competency testing, school desecration, equalization of school funding, the war on poverty, and affirmative action (Cronin, Kingsbury, McCall, & Bowe, 2005; Chudowsky & Pellegrino, 2003). As the focus of education policy has shifted from equity to excellence during the last two decades, there is a potential tension between academic excellence and equity. In the 1990's, racial achievement gaps stop narrowing or begin to widen, signaling setbacks in the progress the nation made toward educational equity (Gronna, Jenkins, & Chin-Chance, 1998).

States were not effective in addressing educational inequalities and achievement gaps in the 1990's (Posner, 2004). A report to the National Education Goals Panels noted that states made little progress in narrowing the persistent gaps in mathematics achievement between white and minority students and between poor and economically advantaged students during the 1990's, despite overall gains in the achievement scores on the NEAP and other standardized tests. The gaps remained substantial as of 2005. For example, the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP, report not only showed that the percentage of black and Hispanic students performing at or above the proficient level in mathematics was much lower than that of their white peers, but it also showed that a large majority of black students failed to meet the proficiency standard. Simply reducing disparities in test scores was not sufficient without also improving the percentage of low- achieving students and disadvantaged minority groups that performed at or above the NAEP proficiency level (Holmes, 2006; Alawiye & Williams, 2005; Cronin, Kingsbury, McCall, & Bowe, 2005; Romano, 2005).

When reviewing the NCLB act it is useful to understand the assumptions underlying the act, and the expectations that individuals have concerning the law and its associated regulations (Cronin, Kingsbury, McCall, & Bowe, 2005). While people speaking about the legislation will have slightly different interpretations, the following elements are common in the understanding of the law: The law will provide an accountability system to identify which schools are doing a good job with their students (Fox, 2001). The law will enhance the opportunities for students who are in danger of not learning the skills that are needed in reading and mathematics. The law will enhance the capacity for all students to become proficient. The law will reduce the achievement gaps seen among students in a variety of subgroups (Amrein & Berliner, 2002; Popham, 1999).

Significance of the Project

Since the NCLB Act began, school districts struggled to meet AYP. This essential component of NCLB determines if a district is successful or not. This is evaluated by standardized test scores. Districts face sanctions if they do not meet AYP, or continual improvement of standardized test scores. Many districts have been hampered in their efforts to meet adequate yearly progress by low special education, ELL and minority sub-group scores.

This project will examine the effect of E2020 intervention on special education student achievement. It will investigate how much student achievement has changed since the E-2020 Computer program was implemented. It will investigate whether and to what extent student achievement growth has changed since the law was implemented (Popham, 1999). Finally, it will investigate the impact of the law on the achievement status and growth of students by sub-group, (Cronin, Kingsbury, McCall, and Bowe, 2005; Lombardi & Burke, 1999).

The research findings on the effects of high-stakes testing on improving academic performance have been mixed, generating controversy over the policy's usefulness (Lombardi & Burke, 1999). The case that draws the most attention was Texas, where the evidence on the impact of high-stakes testing is highly contested. While NCLB built upon the alleged success claimed by some of these earlier studies of states that have adopted accountability policies prior to NCLB, assessing its impact required a more rigorous scrutiny of new evidence from NEAP and state assessment results from across the nation and states (Cronin, Kingsbury, McCall, & Bowe, 2005). Left unexamined is whether and how the recent NEAP reading and math assessment trends in average achievement as well as racial, special education, and socioeconomic achievement gaps are systematically related to new federal and state accountability policies under NCLB (Holloway, 2001; Popham, 1999).

NEAP results are often used in national studies because they are based on the only nationally administered test allowing direct state comparisons. Since NEAP consequences for students are low, scores are believed to be free of coaching or test preparation activities (Chudowsky & Pellegrino, 2003). On the other hand, students are not as motivated to perform on NEAP as they are on their state tests, which vary in rigor. Furthermore, although NEAP's achievement standards are uniform, its exemption policies are not, confounding state-to-state comparisons (Holloway, 2001). Nevertheless, researchers report common finding with regard to note that in every state more than fifty percent of students score below NEAP proficiency levels. The average proficiency rates were thirty percent on the fourth grade test and thirty-two percent on the eighth grade test (Amrein & Berliner, 2002).

As implementation of NCLB continues, we need to use information to determine whether or not it is working (Fox, 2001). There is no country on the planet that currently meets the NCLB goal of having all of its children meeting a challenging proficiency level (Posner, 2004; Amrein & Berliner, 2002).

Amrein and Berliner (2002) studied eighteen states using high-stakes standardized testing to determine if these testing programs were affecting student learning. The researchers studied the ACT, SAT, NAEP and the AP tests. The uncertainty principle was used to interpret these data. This principle stated, "The more important that any quantitative social indicator becomes in social decision making, the more likely it will be to distort and corrupt the social process it is intended to monitor" (p. 2). Analyses of these data revealed that if the intended goal of high-stakes testing policy was to increase student learning, then that policy was not working. While a state's high-stakes test might show increased scores, there was little support in these data that such increases were anything but the result of test preparation and/or exclusion of students from the testing process.

Our current state of faith in reliance on tests has roots in the launch of Sputnik in 1957. Our, then, economic and political rival, the Soviet Union, beat the United States to space, causing out journalists and politicians to question American education with extra vigor" (p. 3). At the time, state and federal politicians became more actively engaged in the conduct of education, including advocacy for… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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