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Behind the Numbers: Interviews in 22 States about Achievement Data and the No Child Left Behind Act Policies

Author(s): Lisa E. Kroger, Hilary L. Campbell, Arthur A. Thacker, D.E.
Published: October 15, 2007

This report describes findings from a series of interviews with education leaders in 22 states. These interviews were conducted with the intent of providing a context for better understanding the achievement trends identified in CEP's June 2007 report, Answering the Question That Matters Most: Has Student Achievement Increased Since No Child Left Behind? Several key findings that emerged from the interviews: (1) there is limited research-based evidence that corroborates or explains achievement trends or monitors instructional impact; (2) many states have made changes in their testing systems since NCLB took effect in 2002, often in ways that have caused "breaks" in the compatibility of test data and made it invalid to track trends over several years; (3) many states are actively pursuing additional changes in their assessment systems that will continue to affect the comparability of test data in the future, and many states indicated that they intend to increase the amount of test data available to the public; and (4) almost half of the states interviewed emphasized the need for federal technical assistance (and often funding) to help states and school districts develop the capacity to collect and analyze the complex assessment and other data required by NCLB.

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Phase II - Full Report (PDF format, 321 KB)