The No Child Left Behind Act, popularly known as NCLB, is the most extensive education improvement program in the United States of America. In the recent past the program has been criticized, especially for perceived lack of tangible contribution towards improving student’s performance. Regardless of this, there exists sufficient evidence to indicate that NCLB significantly raises the standards of education in America.
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Despite the criticism levied against NCLB, the program improves assessment requirements unlike previous assessment programs. Consequently, such improvements multiply the accountability of assessment criteria. Critics of the NCLB argue that the system doubles the workload for both the student and the teacher.
However, previous assessments requirements were not all inclusive as they only required schools, under a state program, to identify assessment criteria on what each student ought to be familiar with. Previously, assessment was done at year 3, 8 and 10 under what each state considered to be the most appropriate assessment standards. This resulted to disparate assessment outcomes.
However, NCLB introduced a set of expansive and precise assessment requirements. These include assessing student’s proficiency in all subjects from year 3 to 8, done along specific requirements, in addition to similar assessment done once in high school.
In addition, under NCLB, schools are required to meet the standards for Adequate Yearly Progress for specific subgroups of students based on gender, race, economic status, language proficiency and disability. Moreover, NCLB requires schools to indentify instructional methodologies that guarantee and document yearly improvement for these subgroups (Braden and Schroeder, 2004; Nichols, Glass and Berliner, n.d.).
NCLB identifies standards for Adequate Yearly Progress for subcategories of students. Additionally, the program has a system of identifying schools that do not meet these requirements for two consecutive years. While NCLB permits each state to prescribe criteria for the achievement Adequate Yearly Progress Standards for schools, the criteria should be aimed at achieving 100 % success rate by the year 2014.
As such, schools must register progressive improvement every year. Those that do not meet NCLB accountability standards are met with severe consequences, mostly the withdrawal of federal financial support for NCLB and loss of autonomy. This implies that NCLB guarantees no wastage of federal education improvement funds (Braden and Schroeder, 2004)
It is imperative to state that under the NCLB program, each state is responsible for the performance of every student and is thus required to prescribe motivational and corrective consequences for student’s performance. NCLB identifies a system of rewards and punishment not only for students but also for teachers and administrators. This implies that NCLB attaches high stakes on student’s performance.
Debate rages on, on the influence of high stakes in improving student’s performance. Some scholars believe that high stakes have no significant influence on improving student’s performance, while others state that in some instances high stakes assessment is negatively associated with poor performance in mid childhood education.
Despite such criticism, it is worth to note that there exists sufficient evidence to prove that high stakes for teachers, students and school administrators ensure improved students performance since each of them works to avoid humiliating consequences of poor performance. NCLB’s high stakes method incentivizes hard work and therefore significantly contributes to improved academic performance (Nichols, Glass and Berliner, n.d.).
Despite the negative criticism levied against NCLB, the program has made significant contribution towards improved standards of education in America. Other than ensuring the federal education improvements funds are not wasted, the program prescribes extensive and all inclusive high stakes assessment standards. This has led to improved performance not only amongst students but also teachers and administrators.
Braden, J. and Schroeder, J. (2004.). High-stakes testing and no child left behind: information and strategies for educators. Web.
Nichols, S., Glass, V. and Berliner, D. (n.d.). High-stakes testing and student achievement: problems for the No Child Left Behind Act. Web.