NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 6, 2007

The nation's students have performed significantly better on state reading and math tests since President Bush signed the "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) education initiative into law five years ago, according to a major independent study by the Center on Education Policy.

According to the Center:

  • In elementary school math, 37 out of 41 states with adequate data showed significant gains.
  • In middle school reading, such increases were found in 20 out of 39 states, and in high school reading, in 16 out of 37.
  • Gains tended to be larger in math than in reading and larger at the elementary level than in middle and high school.

In addition:

  • The study also found that 14 of 38 states with sufficient data showed shrinking gaps in reading scores between black and white students and that there was no evidence of a widening achievement gap in that subject in other states.
  • The researchers cautioned that the gaps remain enormous, with black students scoring as many as 30 percentage points, on average, behind white students in some states.
  • The analysis also found that test-score gains accelerated after enactment of NCLB in nine of the 13 states with sufficient data.

"This study confirms that No Child Left Behind has struck a chord of success with our nation's schools and students," says U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. "We know the law is working, so now is the time to reauthorize."

Source: Amit R. Paley, "Scores rise since 'No Child Left Behind' signed," Washington Post, June 6, 2007.

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