Saturday, February 28, 2015

Evidence lacking for annual testing

Sent to the Los Angeles Times, Feb. 28, 2015

Paul Peterson (Op-ed, Feb. 23) asserts that yearly testing done under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) resulted in increased test scores ("modest" gains in math), "solid evidence" in support of annual testing. Ron Harris (letters, Feb. 27) argues that the increased test scores are due to better test-taking strategies. 

Researchers Jaekyung Lee and Todd Reeves analyzed data from all 50 states from 1990 to 2009 and concluded that the NCLB testing policy did not increase reading gains and did not close ethnic/racial and socio-economic achievement gaps in reading. Gains in math were not "modest" but small, and the reduction of the math achievement gap fell far short of reaching NCLB targets.  Lee and Reeves based their conclusions on the NAEP test, a "low-stakes" test that is immune to "test preparation."

NCLB test score gains were not due to better test-prep: Lee and Reeves' analysis strongly suggests that they never happened.

Stephen Krashen

Original articles:
Lee, J. & Reeves, T. (June 2012). Revisiting the impact of NCLB high-stakes school accountability, capacity and resources: State NAEP 1990-2009 reading and math achievement gaps and trends. Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 34(2), 209-231.

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