It is still interesting to examine whether NCLB has improved student achievement in any particular topic within math or reading. To explore this, we re-estimate equation (1) using NAEP subscale scores as the dependent variable. The NAEP math exam measures student performance in five specific topic areas: Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Number Properties and Operations, and Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability. The results shown in Table 11 suggest that NCLB had a positive impact in all math topic areas for the 4 th grade sample. The point estimates are somewhat larger in Algebra (0.26 standard deviations), Number Properties (0.26 standard deviations) and Data Analysis (0.22 standard deviations) than in Geometry (0.17 standard deviations) and Measurement (0.16 standard deviations). In the 8 th grade sample, NCLB had a moderately large and statistically significant impact within Data Analysis (6.7 scale 14 The NAEP science exam measures not only factual and conceptual understanding of science topics, but also the ability to integrate science knowledge into a larger context and to use tools, procedures, and reasoning processes in scientific investigation. For example, the science exam includes a hands-on task that requires students to conduct actual experiments using materials provided to them.
36 points, or 0.16 standard deviations) and marginally significant effects for Number Properties and Geometry (roughly 0.11 standard deviation in both topics). These results are consistent with some earlier work indicating large impacts of accountability in similar areas (Jacob 2005), suggesting that some topics may be more amenable to instruction than others. The NAEP reading exam measures student competency in several skills related to comprehension: reading for information (i.e., primarily non-fiction reading), reading for literary experience (i.e., primarily fiction reading), and (for 8 th grade only) the ability to perform a task (e.g., students apply knowledge from reading bus schedules or directions for repairing something). In results not shown here but available upon request, we find no significant differences in student achievement effects by topic area in reading – that is, NCLB did not appear to have significant effects on student achievement in any of the three reading competencies. 6. Conclusions NCLB is an extraordinarily influential and controversial policy that, over the last seven years, has brought test-based school accountability to scale at public schools across the United States. The impact of this Federally mandated reform on student achievement is an empirical question of central importance. This study presents evidence on this broad question using state- year panel data on multiple student-outcome measures from the NAEP. We utilize a comparative interrupted time series research design that relies on the changes over time in states that had no prior school-accountability system like those required by NCLB and those that did.
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- Winter '16
- Mrs. Borgsmiller
- No child left behind Act, NCLB, student achievement