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Many States Have Taken a "Backloaded" Approach to No Child Left Behind Goal of All Students Scoring "Proficient"

Author(s): Naomi Chudowsky and Victor Chudowsky
Published: May 19, 2008

This report examines the interim objectives for student achievement established by states in their accountability plans for the No Child Left Behind Act. These objectives lay out the percentages of students that must score at or above the proficient level on state tests each year, on the way toward meeting the law's ultimate goal of 100% of students achieving proficiency by school year 2013-14. These annual objectives are used by states to determine whether schools and districts have made adequate yearly progress. CEP's analysis found that almost half of the states (23 states) have "backloaded" their trajectories for reaching 100% proficiency. In other words, they have called for smaller achievement gains in the earlier years of the trajectory and much steeper gains in later years, as 2014 grows nearer. Another 25 states and the District of Columbia have adopted a more incremental approach that assumes steadier progress toward the 100% goal. The two remaining states have blended trajectories that do not fit readily into the backloaded or incremental categories.

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Full Report (PDF format, 342 KB)

Methodology (PDF format, 122 KB)

Press Release (PDF format, 41.2 KB)