Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Negative Implications Of No Child Left Behind: As Graduation Rates Go Down, School Ratings Go Up

Date:
February 16, 2008
Source:
Rice University
Summary:
Texas' public school accountability system, the model for the national No Child Left Behind Act, directly contributes to lower graduation rates, according to new research. Each year Texas public high schools lose at least 135,000 youth prior to graduation -- a disproportionate number of whom are African-American, Latino and English-as-a-second-language students.

A new study by researchers at Rice University and the University of Texas-Austin finds that Texas' public school accountability system, the model for the national No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), directly contributes to lower graduation rates. Each year Texas public high schools lose at least 135,000 youth prior to graduation -- a disproportionate number of whom are African-American, Latino and English-as-a-second-language (ESL) students.

By analyzing data from more than 271,000 students, the study found that 60 percent of African-American students, 75 percent of Latino students and 80 percent of ESL students did not graduate within five years. The researchers found an overall graduation rate of only 33 percent.

"High-stakes, test-based accountability doesn't lead to school improvement or equitable educational possibilities," said Linda McSpadden McNeil, director of the Center for Education at Rice University. "It leads to avoidable losses of students. Inherently the system creates a dilemma for principals: comply or educate. Unfortunately we found that compliance means losing students."

The study shows as schools came under the accountability system, which uses student test scores to rate schools and reward or discipline principals, massive numbers of students left the school system. The exit of low-achieving students created the appearance of rising test scores and of a narrowing of the achievement gap between white and minority students, thus increasing the schools' ratings.

This study has serious implications for the nation's schools under the NCLB law. 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 their school's performance indicators, their own careers or their school's funding.

The study shows a strong relationship between the increasing number of dropouts and school's rising accountability ratings, finding that:

  • Losses of low-achieving students help raise school ratings under the accountability system.
  • The accountability system allows principals to hold back students who are deemed at risk of reducing the school's scores; many students retained this way end up dropping out.
  • The test scores grouped by race single out the low-achieving students in these subgroups as potential liabilities to the school ratings, increasing incentives for school administrators to allow those students to quietly exit the system.
  • The accountability system's zero tolerance rules for attendance and behavior, which put youth into the court system for minor offenses and absences, alienate students and increase the likelihood they will drop out.

The discrepancy between the official dropout rates, in the 2 to 3 percent range, and the actual rates can be attributed to the state's method of counting, which does not include students who drop out of school for reasons such as pregnancy or incarceration or declare intent to take the GED sometime in the future.

The study analyzes student-level data of 271,000 students in one of Texas' large urban districts over a seven-year period. It also includes analysis of the policy and its implementation, extensive observations in high schools in that district and interviews with students, teachers, administrators and students who left school without graduating.

The study has been published in the peer-reviewed policy journal "Educational Policy Analysis Archives" and is the first research to track the impact of high-stakes accountability on students, employing individual student-level data over a multi-year period. The study can be viewed at http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v16n3/.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rice University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rice University. "Negative Implications Of No Child Left Behind: As Graduation Rates Go Down, School Ratings Go Up." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080214080530.htm>.
Rice University. (2008, February 16). Negative Implications Of No Child Left Behind: As Graduation Rates Go Down, School Ratings Go Up. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080214080530.htm
Rice University. "Negative Implications Of No Child Left Behind: As Graduation Rates Go Down, School Ratings Go Up." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080214080530.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins