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Standards-Based Accountability Under No Child Left Behind

Standards-Based Accountability Under No Child Left Behind: Experiences of Teachers and Administrators in Three States

Laura S. Hamilton
Brian M. Stecher
Julie A. Marsh
Jennifer Sloan McCombs
Abby Robyn
Jennifer Lin Russell
Scott Naftel
Heather Barney
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 302
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  • Book Info
    Standards-Based Accountability Under No Child Left Behind
    Book Description:

    Since 2001-2002, standards-based accountability provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 have shaped the work of public school teachers and administrators in the United States. This book sheds light on how accountability policies have been translated into actions at the district, school, and classroom levels in three states.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4270-5
    Subjects: Sociology, Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xvii-xxii)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 (20 U.S.C. § 6311 et seq.) is arguably the primary policy initiative affecting schools and districts in the United States today, and its standards-based accountability (SBA) provisions are perhaps its most potent component. NCLB requires states to adopt content and achievement standards, to measure student progress toward those standards, and to implement a series of interventions and sanctions in schools and districts that fail to meet their targets. Together, these standards, assessments, and consequences constitute an SBA system. Since 2001–2002, each of the states has been developing and implementing such...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Study Design and Methods
    (pp. 11-18)

    The ISBA study uses a combination of large-scale, quantitative data collection and small-scale case studies to examine NCLB implementation and outcomes in three states. In each state, we are tracing NCLB implementation at the state, district, school, and classroom levels and gathering information on student achievement so that we can associate implementation factors with student outcomes. We focus on elementary and middle school science and mathematics, though we also collect some information on reading instruction and achievement because reading is a focus of states’ accountability systems. The inclusion of both mathematics and science provides an opportunity to contrast a subject...

  11. CHAPTER THREE SBA Systems in California, Georgia, and Pennsylvania
    (pp. 19-40)

    States have many decisions to make in implementing an SBA system consistent with NCLB (Stecher, Hamilton, and Gonzalez, 2003), and their choices will likely influence what happens in schools and how well students perform. The state implementation decisions include adopting content standards, defining AYP and setting AMOs, selecting assessments in required subjects and grades, identifying schools that make progress toward annual targets based on student achievement and other measures, and taking action to ensure that all teachers are highly qualified to teach the standards in the subjects they teach.

    States have considerable flexibility in these choices, and, as a result,...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Educators’ Opinions About Standards, Assessments, and Accountability
    (pp. 41-60)

    Gathering information about educators’ opinions about their state accountability systems is important for understanding the actions they take in response to the systems. The study probed educators’ opinions about key components of NCLB, including academic content standards, annual assessments, and AYP determinations, as well as educators’ responses to the pressures associated with accountability. In general, teachers and administrators were familiar with the components of NCLB accountability, had mixed opinions about the accuracy of test scores and AYP status determinations, and reported both positive and negative effects of accountability.

    Standards are at the core of the accountability system, so it is...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE School and District Improvement Strategies
    (pp. 61-94)

    NCLB’s ultimate goal of proficiency for all students in reading and mathematics means that even schools and districts that can currently meet AYP targets will need to improve student performance in future years as those targets increase. In this chapter, we describe the efforts that schools and districts are making to bring about improved student and school performance. The incentive structure that NCLB establishes narrows the focus of improvement to one single, clear goal: increasing students’ academic achievement in reading and mathematics.¹ As a result, schools and districts must pay significant attention to student learning and the instruction that produces...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Instructional Practices Related to Standards and Assessments
    (pp. 95-112)

    The school improvement strategies discussed in the previous chapter will exert their effects in large part through the activities in which teachers and students engage in the classroom. In this chapter, we describe how teachers responded to the standards and assessments that their states adopted. We examine the extent to which teachers changed the amount of time they spent on different subject areas, the alignment of instructional activities with state standards and assessments, the perceived effects of the state assessments on teachers’ instructional practices, and the instructional strategies that teachers used in their mathematics and science classrooms. Teachers’ responses suggest...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN Perceived Barriers to School Improvement
    (pp. 113-128)

    Although teachers and administrators reported extensive efforts to improve their schools’ performance, they also identified factors that they believed made it difficult to achieve the desired levels of improvement. Some of these factors relate to resources or other conditions that might be affected by school or district policy, whereas others, such as lack of support from parents, are more difficult for schools to influence.

    Both fiscal and physical capital limitations impeded school improvement, according to administrators, but fiscal constraints were more widespread. Almost all of the superintendents in all three states identified lack of adequate funding as a moderate to...

  16. CHAPTER EIGHT Conclusions and Implications
    (pp. 129-138)

    This study was designed to examine the implementation of NCLB as an example of an SBA system. We hypothesized a multilevel implementation process unfolding incrementally from states to districts to schools to classrooms. We also hypothesized that local contextual factors would influence the manner in which the policies evolved and were translated into practice. The evidence presented in the previous four chapters shows that NCLB has clearly influenced educational practice at all levels; some of the effects appear to be beneficial for student learning, whereas others raise concerns about possible negative consequences. In this final chapter, we reflect back on...

  17. APPENDIX A Sampling and Survey Responses
    (pp. 139-144)
  18. APPENDIX B Supplementary Tables
    (pp. 145-194)
  19. APPENDIX C Superintendent, Principal, and Teacher Surveys
    (pp. 195-264)
  20. References
    (pp. 265-276)