The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act was signed in 2002 and was scheduled for reauthorization in 2007. NCLB has resulted in extensive activities within the states: to develop a suitable accountability system where none may have existed, to adapt extant assessment systems, to implement supports and sanctions to encourage educational improvements, and to monitor and report on progress toward NCLB goals over time. Studies of the impact of NCLB have yielded mixed results with respect to its impact on student learning.
The Center on Education Policy (CEP) contracted with HumRRO to gather and interpret evidence from the states on the trends—both positive and negative—since the implementation of NCLB. In conjunction with CEP, this relevant and timely information was summarized in a highly-publicized report designed to drive data-based recommendations to inform upcoming deliberations on NCLB reauthorization in 2007.
The original project was conducted in two phases. Phase I, Develop State Profiles, included the collection of assessment descriptive information and test results over time for all 50 states, as well as analyses of student achievement gains and gap reductions over time. A profile was developed for each state, and HumRRO supported CEP in the development of a summary report. The state profiles, the summary report, and 50 sets of data files are available on CEP’s website. Phase II, In-depth State Investigations, was based on a series of in-person visits to interview key state educational leaders in a sample of 22 states. During this phase we gathered additional information on the state’s assessment program and discussed activities that occurred before, concurrent with, or subsequent to the enactment of NCLB. The Phase II report provided conclusions about the appropriateness of extant assessment programs to draw rigorous conclusions about student achievement and gap reductions during the era of NCLB, as well as state leaders’ perceptions of the effects of NCLB. CEP’s Expert Panel provided guidance throughout the project and played a key role in drawing conclusions.
In Fall 2007 CEP contracted with HumRRO to continue this project through December 2007. Phase III, Update State Profiles (2007), will include the update of Phase I data files with 2007 test results and the verification of those data by state education departments.