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ERIC Number: ED506122
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jul
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 11
State Test Score Trends Through 2007-08, Part 2: Is There a Plateau Effect in Test Scores?
Chudowsky, Naomi; Chudowsky, Victor
Center on Education Policy
Many in the research and policy worlds have taken for granted the existence of a phenomenon known as the "plateau effect," wherein test scores rise in the early years of a test-based accountability system and then level off. Drawing from our database of reading and math test results from all 50 states going back as far as 1999, the Center on Education Policy (CEP) looked for evidence of a plateau effect in 55 trend lines from 16 states with six to ten years of consistent test data. Reported findings include: (1) In the current testing context, one cannot assume the existence of a plateau effect when trying to predict state test score trends; (2) The largest gains did not consistently show up in the early years of a testing program; (3) A clear upswing in test results was apparent after the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB); and (4) In the three states with the longest trend lines, gains generally did level off after nine or ten years, but the data were too limited to know whether this is a consistent pattern in state test performance. (Contains 6 figures and 1 table.) [Additional funding was provided by Phi Delta Kappa International Foundation. For "State Test Score Trends Through 2007-08, Part 1: Is the Emphasis on "Proficiency" Shortchanging Higher- and Lower-Achieving Students?", see ED506121.]
Center on Education Policy. 1001 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 522, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-822-8065; Fax: 202-822-6008; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; Smith Richardson Foundation; George Gund Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center on Education Policy
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001