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BPEA | Fall 2010

The Impact of No Child Left Behind on Students, Teachers, and Schools [with Comments and Discussion]

Brian A. Jacob and
Brian Jacob
Brian A. Jacob Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy; Professor of Economics, and Professor of Education - University of Michigan, Former Brookings Expert
Thomas S. Dee
TSD
Thomas S. Dee Professor - Stanford University
discussants: Caroline M. Hoxby and
CMH
Caroline M. Hoxby Stanford University
Helen F. Ladd
Helen F. Ladd Former Brookings Expert, Susan B. King Professor Emeritus of Public Policy, Samford School of Public Policy - Duke University

Fall 2010


The controversial No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) brought
test-based school accountability to scale across the United States. This study
draws together results from multiple data sources to identify how the new
accountability systems developed in response to NCLB have influenced student
achievement, school-district finances, and measures of school and teacher
practices. Our results indicate that NCLB brought about targeted gains in the
mathematics achievement of younger students, particularly those from disadvantaged
backgrounds. However, we find no evidence that NCLB improved
student achievement in reading. School-district expenditure increased significantly
in response to NCLB, and these increases were not matched by federal
revenue. Our results suggest that NCLB led to increases in teacher compensation
and the share of teachers with graduate degrees. We find evidence that
NCLB shifted the allocation of instructional time toward math and reading, the
subjects targeted by the new accountability systems.