President George W. Bush signed that bipartisan education reform into law in 2002. We spent a good decade rewriting curriculum and teaching to tests. What did we get for it? Nothing noticeable, at least here in South Dakota:
South Dakota’s fourth grade and eighth grade scores for math and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have remained steady since the test was first administered in the state in 2002.
...The state’s average math score at eighth grade was 287, compared to a national average of 284. Over the past ten years, the score has varied from 285 to 291. The state’s average reading score at eighth grade was 268, compared to a national average of 266. That score has varied from 268 to 270 in the past ten years.
...In the fourth grade, South Dakota’s average NAEP score for math is 241, which is also the national average. That score has varied between 237 and 242 in the past decade. The fourth grade reading score is 218, which is three points lower than the national average of 221. In the past ten years, that score has varied between 218 and 223 [South Dakota Department of Education, press release, 2013.11.07].
South Dakota schools spent a lot of time sending kids home so teachers and administrators could have meetings to talk about implement No Child Left Behind. We took time out of regular classroom activities so teachers could conduct test-prep sessions with students. We spent a lot of money on new tests and on breakfasts and snacks to fuel kids up during the tests.
And we got no noticeable improvement in student performance.
Just a thought: maybe instead of distracting kids and teachers from the classroom, we might have gotten more for our efforts if we had called off those in-services and test-prep sessions and just let teachers do their jobs.
Delete "No Child Left Behind," insert "Common Core," and I have a feeling you'll have exactly the blog post I'll be able to write eleven years from now, in response to an identical press release from the state showing no impact on test scores from Common Core.
Related: Whose fourth graders have the best math scores? Minnesota.