ERIC Number: ED484847
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jan
Instructional Software and "No Child Left Behind" in Poor, Rural Schools: Rationality and the Subversion of Math Achievement. Working Paper No. 19
Bickel, Robert; Cadle, Connie
Appalachian Collaborative Center for Learning
Standardized achievement tests as measures of school performance are an inescapable fact of life in U.S. public education. Critics of such tests hold that U.S. education policy has made achievement test scores more important than achievement itself. "No Child Left Behind," the centerpiece of the Bush Administration's domestic agenda, places a premium on standardized testing as a means of reforming public education and raising all students to an acceptable level of achievement. As presented by the U.S. Secretary of Education, the Act promises to be especially helpful in economically disadvantaged, socially devalued, rural areas, such as Appalachian West Virginia. While "No Child Left Behind" nominally gives pride of place to literacy, the Administration has voiced concern that deficiencies in math achievement, especially among economically deprived students in rural schools, threaten the economic pre-eminence of the U.S. This concern was recently manifest in a $22 million grant to the University of Kentucky. Following evaluation of a short-term, non-intensive, in-school intervention called Sophisticated Software, however, we tentatively conclude that improved test-taking skills are easily mistaken for math achievement growth. "No Child Left Behind," thus, may have vastly improved market conditions for the instructional medium that Sophisticated Software typifies. As a result, one consequence of the Act may be to undercut math achievement in poor, rural schools, while providing the appearance of math achievement gains.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Ohio Univ., Athens. Appalachian Collaborative Center for Learning, Assessment, and Instruction in Mathematics.