Avoidable Losses: High-Stakes Accountability and the Dropout Crisis
At least 135,000 students in Texas public high schools drop out prior to graduation every year, a figure that has increased since 2001 because of the use of accountability testing as required by the No Child Left Behind Act, concludes a study by researchers from Rice University’s Center for Education, in Houston, and the University of Texas at Austin.
The researchers studied 271,000 students in one of the state’s largest districts over seven years, interviewing students, teachers, and administrators. The study found that about 60 percent of African-American students, 75 percent of Latino children, and 80 percent of English-language-learners did not graduate within five years.
The report concludes that the assessments required under the NCLB law have caused low-achieving students to drop out in higher numbers than before, a problem the state’s tally of dropout rates fails to portray accurately.
A version of this article appeared in the February 20, 2008 edition of Education Week