NCLB’s Accountability Rules Promote Dropouts, Study Finds

February 21, 2008 1 min read

Some advocates have been lobbying to make high school graduation rates part of NCLB’s accountability system. The current emphasis on test scores gives high schools the incentive to shove low-scoring students out instead of addressing their achievement issues, they assert.

A new study out of Texas bolsters their case. The Rice University Center for Education tracked 271,000 students in one unnamed Texas city and found “strong association between high-stakes accountability and dropping out,” according to this summary.

“This study has serious implications for the nation’s schools under the NCLB law,” the summary concludes. “It finds that the higher the stakes and the longer such an accountability system governs schools, the more school personnel view students not as children to educate but as potential liabilities or assets for the school’s performance indicators, their own careers, or their school’s funding.”

Read a brief recap in the Report Roundup column of the Feb. 20, 2008, issue of Education Week. Other stories of NCLB note in the issue:

McCain Emphasizes School Choice, Accountability, But Lacks Specifics (with blog items here and here)
NCLB Trumps IDEA, Appeals Court Rules (with a blog item here)
NCLB Restructuring Found Ineffectual in California (with a blog item here)

And don’t miss When ‘Unequal’ Is Fair Treatment for an explanation of one district’s efforts to reduce the achievement gap.

A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.


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