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BPEA Article

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



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.

Brian A. Jacob

Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy; Professor of Economics, and Professor of Education - University of Michigan

Former Brookings Expert


Helen F. Ladd

Former Brookings Expert

Susan B. King Professor Emeritus of Public Policy, Samford School of Public Policy - Duke University

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