Studies must be conducted in the years to come. These studies must reexamine the data on the achievement gap every year until the target date of 2014. This data will be especially useful after 7 years of implementation when the majority of students tested in 3 rd grade under the annual standardized testing component of NCLB will have progressed through the 10 th grade proficiency exams administered in Ohio and many other states. This data must be analyzed to track individual student improvement, long-term school progress, and major trends in the achievement gap on district, state, and national levels. Additional research must be conducted on the relationship between contributing factors and specific intervention strategies. With NCLB up for reauthorization, government funding should earmarked for programs and interventions that demonstrate positive results in closing the achievement gap. Correlating contributing factors and specific interventions to determine effectiveness will help to identify best practices and
improve the existing legislation. Broad overviews of the contributing factors, such as Barton’s (2005) literature, are of significant value to educators and administrators. 36 However, a more thorough analysis of individual factors and intervention strategies might provide useful information for legislators who, ultimately, shape schools through policy and budgetary decisions. Specifically, studies need to be commissioned that extract a single contributing factor such as teacher qualifications and experience and a specific component of the legislation that impacts this factor to better determine the effectiveness of NCLB. For example, a student can examine areas where schools are traditionally staffed by teachers that are instructing outside of their subject of expertise or have limited or inadequate teaching credentials. The study can examine student scores, the composition and qualifications of the faculty, the funding allocated under NCLB for professional development and recruitment of highly-qualified teachers, and the trends in scores as schools receive funding to recruit more highly-qualified teachers into the district. If scores improve as more qualified teachers are recruited into the school system, then one might perhaps be able to conclude that NCLB is effective in addressing that specific contributing factor to the achievement gap. Similar studies can be conducted for each of the specific contributing factors so to determine the effectiveness of NCLB as opposed to broad analysis of student scores and trends to make this determination. Only by examining the effect of NCLB on specific contributing factors and the subsequent trends in student populations can one accurately assert that NCLB is closing the achievement gap as opposed to other preexisting conditions and influences. It is important to note, however, that there are many
confounding variables that will make it difficult to draw a direct and irrefutable link between any one specific contributing factor and test scores.
- Spring '14
- No child left behind Act, NCLB, achievement gap, Paul Barton