Achievement Up, Growth Rate Down

By Lynn Olson — April 19, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Student achievement has risen under the No Child Left Behind Act, but the academic growth students show over the course of a school year has slowed, particularly for some minority groups, says a new study.

“The Impact of the No Child Left Behind Act on Student Achievement and Growth: 2005 Edition,” is posted by the Northwest Evaluation Association. ()

The study was conducted by the nonprofit Northwest Evaluation Association, based in Portland, Ore., using tests it has devised for about 1,500 districts in 43 states. The tests are typically given when students start school in the fall and again in the spring.

The researchers evaluated reading data for more than 320,000 pupils in grades 3-8 in 200-plus districts in 23 states, and mathematics data for more than 334,000 students in the same grades in more than 200 districts in 22 states. They compared achievement scores and fall-to-spring growth in the 2001-02 and the 2003-04 school years. Although broad, the sample is not nationally representative.

In both reading and math, students entering a grade in 2003 had higher beginning test scores than children entering the same grade in 2001, before the NCLB legislation became law. Those gains held true for African-American, Hispanic, and Native American students.

But the rate of growth over the course of a school year slipped between 2001-02 and 2003-04, particularly for minority youngsters. In a comparison of Hispanic and Anglo students with the same initial test score, for instance, Hispanic students’ achievement grew noticeably less over the course of a year.

If those trends continue, the researchers say, states won’t be close to having all students “proficient” on state tests by 2014, as the law requires.

“I certainly wouldn’t suggest that No Child Left Behind is not working, because the evidence would seem to indicate that it is,” said Allan Olson, the NWEA’s executive director.

The study found that achievement levels and growth rates were higher in grades where state tests are given, lending support to the federal law’s requirement for annual testing in grades 3-8.


Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!

Content provided by Panorama
Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal School Boards, 'Domestic Terrorism,' and Free Speech: Inside the Debate
From critical race theory to COVID policy, the heat on schools has raised issues involving free speech and the safety of public officials.
13 min read
Brenda Stephens, a school board member with Orange County Public Schools in Hillsborough, N.C. has purchased a weapon and taken a concealed carry class over concerns for her personal safety.
Brenda Stephens, a school board member in Hillsborough, N.C., says board members face threats and bullying, an atmosphere far different from what she's encountered in years of board service.
Kate Medley for Education Week
Federal Senate Confirms Catherine Lhamon to Civil Rights Post; Kamala Harris Casts Decisive Vote
Joe Biden's controversial pick to lead the Education Department's office for civil rights held that job in the Obama administration.
2 min read
Catherine Lhamon, nominee to be assistant secretary for civil rights at the Department of Education, testifies during a Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building on Tuesday, July 13, 2021.
Catherine Lhamon, then-nominee to be assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education, testifies during a Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee confirmation hearing in July.
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images
Federal White House Outlines COVID-19 Vaccination Plans for Kids 5-11
The Biden administration will rely on schools, pharmacies, and pediatricians to help deliver the COVID-19 shots to younger children.
3 min read
Ticket number 937 sits on a COVID-19 vaccination at the drive-thru vaccination site in the Coweta County Fairgrounds on Jan. 14, 2021, in Newnan, Ga.
A ticket number sits on a COVID-19 vaccination at the drive-thru vaccination site in the Coweta County Fairgrounds in Newnan, Ga.
Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP
Federal California, Florida, and Other States Waiting on Green Light for Their COVID Relief Plans
The list of states with Ed. Dept. approval for their American Rescue Plan blueprints is growing steadily, but two big states aren't on it.
4 min read
Image shows an illustration of money providing relief against coronavirus.
DigitalVision Vectors/iStock/Getty