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ERIC Number: ED521963
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 7
Achievement Gaps and the Proficiency Trap
Dahlin, Michael; Cronin, John
Northwest Evaluation Association
One of the main goals of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was to hold schools accountable for ensuring that all students are meeting high academic standards, and to eliminate disparities in academic performance between traditionally advantaged and disadvantaged groups of students. One could argue that this focus on holding schools accountable for the performance of individual subgroups, rather than considering only aggregated school-wide performance, is a step in the right direction. Still, the metrics specified within NCLB to evaluate school and sub-group performance (i.e., group proficiency rates), are inadequate for evaluating whether progress has been made towards eliminating racial and/or socio-economic gaps in academic achievement. Simply put, even though the goal of NCLB was to eliminate disparities in achievement among groups of students within schools, the performance metrics required under NCLB make it nearly impossible to determine whether schools are actually making progress towards these ends. Only by considering the full distribution of student performance, and by considering growth information along with performance information, can a complete picture be revealed about gaps in academic achievement, and whether schools are making adequate progress towards eliminating such gaps. Using alternative measures such as the ones described in this report will be critical in that effort. (Contains 1 table and 3 figures.) [This publication was produced by the Kingsbury Center at Northwest Evaluation Association.]
Northwest Evaluation Association. 121 NW Everett Street, Portland, OR 97209. Tel: 503-624-1951; Fax: 503-639-7873; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001