A report published today in the scholarly journal of the American Educational Research Association found that kids generally made larger academic gains in the years leading up to No Child Left Behind’s enactment in 2002 than they did afterward.
After analyzing the federal test scores in 12 states, researchers found that the reading scores of elementary school children declined since 2002 after rising during the 1990s — improvements they attributed to “state-led accountability efforts.” Fourth-grade math was the only area that picked up since 2002.
Bruce Fuller, a professor of education and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, was the lead author in a report. In AERA’s synopsis, he says:
“The slowing of achievement gains, even declines in reading, since 2002 suggests that state-led accountability efforts—well underway by the mid-1990s—packed more of a punch in raising student performance, compared with the flattening-out of scores during the ‘No Child’ era,” he observed.
“We are not suggesting that ‘No Child’ has dampened the earlier progress made by the states,” Fuller said. “But we find no consistent evidence that federal reforms have rekindled the states’ earlier gains.”