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Strategies for Enhancing Education and Accountability of Schools in the U.S. Examples From CRESST Eva L. Baker UCLA CRESST, USA International Conference.

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Presentation on theme: "Strategies for Enhancing Education and Accountability of Schools in the U.S. Examples From CRESST Eva L. Baker UCLA CRESST, USA International Conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 Strategies for Enhancing Education and Accountability of Schools in the U.S. Examples From CRESST Eva L. Baker UCLA CRESST, USA International Conference by Presidential Committee September 4, 2006

2 Goals for Today To describe the theory and background of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) To describe the key goals and provisions of NCLB To discuss NCLB impact, areas of continuing challenge and short-term change

3 NCLB Context In the U.S., Federal programs enacted to close the gap for disadvantaged students (1966) led to a two-tier system. Only disadvantaged children were systematically tested. Local and State funds depended on numbers of continuing disadvantaged students 1983 A Nation at Risk published In 1989, Governors of States decided they needed a system of goals and linked assessments to improve performance

4 NCLB Context: Theory of Action for Standards-Based Reform Theory of action (Tyler, systems theory, training) Identifying goals and standards and targets Building concomitant capacity Designing and delivering instruction Collecting performance data Analyzing strengths and weaknesses Selecting or determining and using re-teaching strategies Repeating until success attained Sanctions for failure to meet targets Sanctions unless “all” children are the focus

5 NCLB Context: Legal In a law suit about tests brought by a teachers’ union, the State of Arkansas prevailed. In an earlier court case (Florida 1974), the State lost on the premise that they did not provide all children with opportunity to learn the test material

6 NCLB Context: National Council In 1991, the President appointed a Council (I was a member) of Federal and State politicians (Senators and Congressmen, Governors), educators, and researchers

7 NCLB Context: National Council (Cont’d) The Council report supported the idea of national standards if they were voluntary. Assessments were to be the prerogative of each State A new organization was to review State efforts

8 NCLB Context: National Council (Cont’d) New methodological work was to address disparities among standards, tests, and results for States Examples included validity of cut scores, sensitivity to instruction, measures of opportunity to learn, stability of performance, value-added models

9 NCLB Context: Council Questions Will States accept common provisions of standards-based reform? Will the system be nationally or State developed? Will standards be national? Or will standards be unique to States with a common process used in each State? How will quality or comparability of standards in State systems be determined? Who approves the standards? Will there be national tests?

10 NCLB Context: IASA New laws were enacted in 1992 based on the Council report. In 1994, Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA) required new policies: All children were to be tested in 4th, 8th, and 10th grades. States were to first develop content standards (curriculum goals) and then to develop tests, both with government assistance and quality oversight Great efforts were made in preparing national standards by professional groups in mathematics, science, history, etc., to give the States help

11 NCLB Context: IASA (Cont’d) In IASA, standards, tests, targets and methods of improvement were State options No actual quality review of standards or tests occurred, nor were there consequences for States that did not comply or meet standards (because of change in Congress)

12 NCLB Context: IASA and Tests Financial support was available to help States prepare tests. Performance tests (open-ended measures) were advocated by many. Most tests used a matrix sampling approach so individual scores were rare In 1997, President Clinton proposed voluntary national tests, and work began on them and an evaluation by the National Research Council (NRC). These tests were prohibited subsequently by Congress

13 NCLB Context: Assessment Use In 1999, the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing and the NRC reviews about voluntary national testing made clear that high-stakes student decisions should not be based on one measure. Validity rested on purpose and use of inferences from results Cost and technical issues slowed down performance-based testing

14 NCLB Enactment and Goals Signed into law 2002 Major education focus for improvement Builds on IASA: standards, tests, and accountability Goals: By 2014, all students will meet States’ standards of proficiency in math, language, and science Gaps among different subgroups will close

15 NCLB Provisions: Flexibility Choice of academic standards Choice and difficulty of test (buy, make, contract) Choice of proficiency level Pattern of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) over the years from 2005-2014 Choice of professional development Choice of commercial curriculum materials Type of English language development test and rules for deciding students have acquired English Implementation of teacher quality provisions

16 NCLB Provisions: Minimums for Teacher Quality Have a Bachelor’s degree Be State certified or pass State licensing exam (alternative routes, outside of education schools) Not teaching on temporary waiver Demonstrate competency in subject matter

17 NCLB Provisions: Testing Individual level testing for all children Grades 3-8 and once during high school in reading and math by the 2005-2006 school year Science tests must be administered once in grades 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12 by the 2007-2008 school year Tests are to meet validity and reliability standards

18 NCLB Provisions: Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) States prepare plan so that an increased percentage of students achieve a proficient level for every cycle. This level is usually set by school, based upon its initial level. May be separate for each subject or a composite Proficiency levels usually below basic, basic, proficient, and advanced

19 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Subgroups in a school (disadvantaged, ethnic and language subgroups) must each reach school’s AYP target 95% of the whole school and 95% of each subgroup must take required tests Data may be true longitudinal (following a child) or cross-sectional year to year (3rd grade 06—3rd grade 07) comparisons

20 Consequences of Missing AYP Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 1.“Watch list” 2.Needs improvement: technical assistance from State; intra-District transfers; District pays for transportation 3.Eligible students tutoring 4.Corrective action: replace staff, new curriculum, professional development, decrease management authority, add outside expert, extend school day or year, restructure 5.Restructure: charter school, replace all staff, contract with private management, or turn over to State

21 Why NCLB Happened Built on a consensus of politicians 10+ years of prior discussion and statutes U.S. unhappy with quality Something for everyone Difficult to be against improving performance Emphasis on closing the gap Administration did not deviate from message

22 NCLB Concerns Standards and tests are without a standard curriculum or syllabus and tests are often secret So most teachers use test practice exercises States vary in number and clarity of standards, quality of tests, and stringency of cut scores Too many standards, inadequately measured

23 NCLB Concerns (Cont’d) Focus on AYP has wrongly become main issue Research on stability of classification and AYP options, including value-added No comparability measures except National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) among States

24 NCLB Concerns (Cont’d) Methods of “aligning” State standards, instruction and tests inadequate since no syllabus. Great differences among schools, Districts and States AYP computations (based on 95% participation and achievement by each subgroup) in a cross- sectional mode increase likelihood of failing targets Few tests in use have adequate vertical comparability to allow longitudinal inferences

25 NCLB Concerns (Cont’d) Failing schools will encourage private education Good teachers will leave schools with problems in performance Members of subgroups will be ostracized Until recently, special needs children would not succeed High school exit exam is often used as NCLB measure, so failure means no diploma

26 NCLB Concerns (Cont’d) Mobility in urban settings makes school performance difficult to monitor Focus on test results has resulted in lock-step curriculum, with no time to implement improvements Special problems for limited English speaking students

27 NCLB Results Divided support Improved performance among young children Attention paid to low economic students No improvement at middle or high school Some additional help from Federal government

28 Examples of Positive Publicity Celebrating Making AYP After focused efforts by State and local school officials, two Arizona elementary schools were able to reach their adequate yearly progress marks after four consecutive years of falling short Nebraska Students Write On Added emphasis on writing in Nebraska schools, as part of the effort to meet the No Child Left Behind Act requirements, has led to improvement in writing among all students, including those in subgroups

29 Positive Publicity (Cont’d) Broad effort closes Grade 3 achievement gap By channeling the efforts of teachers, community members, and parents, staff members at Maryland's Viers Mill Elementary School were able to close the achievement gap in reading and math at the third-grade level

30 NCLB Research = CRESST Helping teachers to assess students in classes Helping teachers to give in-class feedback Helping teachers to develop alternative or back-up teaching strategies Motivating students for test performance

31 NCLB Research Problems Developing better assessments that can be used economically Developing approaches to measure classroom practice in a scalable way Providing out-of-school instructional support Rapid preparation to replace retirements Explore teacher incentive systems

32 NCLB Research Opportunities Develop stronger methodology to measure growth and attribute performance Develop better indices of stability of performance Counter lack of validity of assessments for multiple purposes Assure students can perform outside of narrow test confines (transfer and generalize) Develop adaptive approaches to instruction using computers for high-level learning

33 What Is Next? NCLB to be reauthorized and could be changed Direction will depend on election Research support is falling, focused on program evaluation Longitudinal data and longer term studies are needed linking instruction, performance, and student and teacher backgrounds

34 Eva L. Baker 310.206.1530 310.267.0152 eva@ucla.edu www.cresst.org Voice: Fax: Email: Web:


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