Major review of No Child Left Behind. Kids moved ahead in math, but in little else.

A much-anticipated evaluation of the No Child Left Behind Act — the sweeping federal law that imposed consequential accountability on all states and schools — found strong evidence that math achievement improved in the earlier grades as a result of the decades-long law.

A new evaluation of President Bush's signature law No Child Left Behind found improvement to math performance in lower grades, but to little else.

A new evaluation of President Bush's signature law No Child Left Behind found improvement to math performance in lower grades, but to little else.

But  the controversial law had no impact on reading.

One of the challenges to analyzing the law has been separating out what changes in student performance were related to other variables including the improvements to the economy during the decade. All those moving parts made it hard for studies to offer any definitive claims about the law’s impact, said researcher Thomas Dee. (I just finished a phone interview with Dee and will be writing that for my Monday education column. I will also post here.)

Dee and his colleague Brian Jacob sought out a credible control group. The foundation of their comparison became those states that imposed the earliest generation of statewide school-level accountability systems. In a podcast on Education Next,  Dee notes that  NCLB was just tinkering for many states since they already had accountability in place. “In other word, it was largely irrelevant for them,” he said.

Using those pioneer states as a a control group, the researchers looked at the states that never had introduced any school-wide accountability.

And the results show mixed results: Improvements were concentrated in the earlier grades, most notably in grade 4 NAEP math scores and mostly among Hispanic and low-income students.  In that respect, Dee says the law fell short of its so-called “moonshot rhetoric” that it would remake American education.

The study does not conclude why the improvements came in math over reading, suggesting that more work needs to be done to see whether there is something unique about teaching math in the early grades.

The revised NCLB plan under consideration by the Obama administration would get rid of the serious consequences for many of the nation’s schools and instead limit those consequences for underperformance to the 5 to 10 percent of the lowest performing schools.

Under the Obama plan, the other 90 percent of the nation’s schools would still have testing and public release of testing data, but not the consequences now imposed for failing to show progress among a wide range of student subgroups. Dee said getting data out for public consumption has not been shown to be sufficient to drive improvements to schools.  If there are no consequences for schools, Dee predicts a reduction in improvements gained through policies like NCLB.

Now, here is the official release on the study:

Just as the Obama administration has signaled that it has made reauthorizing the landmark No Child Left Behind  federal law a priority in 2010, an Education Next analysis by professors Thomas Dee and Brian Jacob shows that NCLB is responsible for marked gains in math skills, particularly among Latino and low-income students, but produced no improvements in reading achievement.

The impact NCLB has had on student achievement since its implementation in 2002 has always been difficult to gauge. Since the law applied to all public school students, there was no comparison group and it was impossible to determine which of countless factors contributed to student achievement.

However, authors Dee and Jacob conducted groundbreaking research, to be published in the summer issue of Education Next and available now online, comparing test score changes in states that did not have NCLB-style accountability systems (both publicizing performance and attaching consequences to the performance) in place before 2002 to changes in those that already did when NCLB was implemented.

Dee’s and Jacob’s findings suggest that “the accountability provisions of NCLB generated large and statistically significant increases in the math achievement of 4th graders and that these gains were concentrated among Hispanic and low-income students.”

“Specifically, we find evidence that the accountability provisions of NCLB generated large and broad gains in the math achievement of 4th grad¬ers and somewhat smaller gains for 8th graders,” said the authors.  “Our results suggest that NCLB accountability had no impact on read¬ing achievement for either group.”

The study relied on test-score data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as “The Nation’s Report Card.”  Data were available in 39 states for 4th-grade math, 38 states for 8th-grade math, 37 states for 4th-grade reading and 34 states for 8th-grade reading. The scholars found that NCLB raised the percentage of students who reached a basic level of proficiency by 10 percentage points in 4th grade math and by 6 percentage points in 8th grade math.  The percentages reaching full proficiency in math increased by 6 percentage points in 4th grade, but no detectable gains were identified for the percentage reaching full proficiency in 8th grade math.  Those identified as fully proficient in 4th grade reading increased by 2.5 percentage points, but no other significant reading impacts were identified. NCLB impacts on Hispanic math performance were even greater.

The research also found that NCLB increased achievement among higher-achieving students, casting doubt on concerns that the law has harmed this group.

The authors say that as lawmakers consider a redesign of NCLB, they may need to pay more specific attention to understanding what causes differing results by grade and subject.

“Understanding these differences, according to the analysis, will be critical as policymakers discuss the future design of NCLB,” Jacob said. “Our results, much like earlier evaluations of state-level school accountability policies, show that we need to look closely at what’s happening within our schools that can cause these changes in achievement.”

Thomas Dee, currently an associate professor of economics at Swarthmore College, will be professor of public policy and economics at the University of Virginia this fall and Brian Jacob is professor of education policy and economics at the University of Michigan.

51 comments Add your comment

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dr Math E Matics, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Major review of No Child Left Behind. Kids moved ahead in math, but in little else. http://bit.ly/a38n7K [...]

protecting

May 19th, 2010
12:42 pm

How much does ESL play into this? The “lingusitics” of math are the same (other than metric or standard) whether you are in Mexico, Greece, New Zeland or USA. Reading on the other hand is very dependent on the location/origin of the primary speakers of the home.

Thus I would expect things that are heavily mathmatical to increase while those dependent on language to decrease. Especially as more and more our public schools (private school aren’t subject to the CRCT) are gaining students with non English backgrounds—Chinese, Latino, Indian (from India), Pakistani, German and Russian are just a few at our current school.

Seen it all

May 19th, 2010
12:43 pm

Ahhhhh darn.

You mean Reading First didn’t make the huge monumental gains in reading that the “experts” said would occur? You mean “135 minutes of uninterrupted reading instruction” didn’t change peoples’ lives? You mean to tell my unwavering devotion to teaching reading based on the “scientifically based” principles didn’t do the trick. I just cannot fathom why teaching reading only using “phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.” What? DIBELS wasn’t the answer? Direct Instruction wasn’t manna fro heaven? We did read off the script. After a while, the children could read the words pretty good (whether or not they understood what they read is another story.

What more must we do?

V for Vendetta

May 19th, 2010
12:44 pm

I hope we can stop calling it “No Child Left Behind.” That term makes me want to puke.

So kids improved in Math, eh? Does that prove causation? I doubt it. The lack of reading gains does not surprise me, either. I have seen a dip in reading and writing ability where I teach, as well as critical reading/reading comprehension skills. The reasons are simple and well known: social promotion and lack of dicipline.

We’ve known reading was crucial for quite some time now, and I have often said on this blog that studies show early childhood literacy is the single largest determining factor for future academic success; however, we continue to promote the cure du jour at the expense of reading and writing improvement. We also make excuse after excuse for low income students who act as though books were unattainable bars of gold that drop out of the sky, choosing instead to look at the pictures in ESPN the Magazine or Sports Illustrated. (I once proved the look-at-the-pictures theory by asking a student to read an article in SI. He looked at the first sentence, couldn’t read it, and said he was more interested in the pictures and stats.)

So, whatever Obama’s administration proposes, I’m sure it will continue to marginalize reading and increase Federal government involvement in local schools.

Teacher&mom

May 19th, 2010
12:48 pm

Here’s a link that discusses the Obama administration’s focus and the money machines that are driving the decision-making process at the federal level.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/2010/05/schools_4_sale_inquire_at_us_d.html

clueless

May 19th, 2010
1:47 pm

When you dumb down the standards and don’t hold the kids to them anyway……

Whats UP!

May 19th, 2010
1:51 pm

Where are the Atlanta Public Schools C.R.C.T. Test results? My child attends Atlanta Publics School System, and has yet to get his scores, yet my co-workers children who attend Cobb County Schools received their scores about two weeks ago.
Whata up with that?

RJ

May 19th, 2010
1:52 pm

@Seen it all, you said it all! I couldn’t agree more!

Ole Guy

May 19th, 2010
1:53 pm

Before we start shooting cannons in celebration of the dubious “achievements” of NCLB, let’s view ROI…Return On the Investment in terms of monies expended and, more importantly, the adverse impacts upon the educational system, primarily those who have chosen to devote their lives to the betterment of younger generations:

* One of the first victims of NCLB was the school systems themselves. As in any facet of life, there are winners and there are losers. While the former are allowed to celebrate their collective achievements, the later DO NOT need to be forced into bowing their heads in the position of shame while acknowledging failure, yet this is exactly what all-too-many school systems have been obliged to contend with. Threats of funds withdrawl, not to mention the invasion of Federally-mandated paperwork, siphoning both time and resources, not to mention instructional time, have all served to greatly mitigate the value of teacher time.

* By placing the stigma of “FAILING SCHOOLS” upon those producing less-than-acceptable results, the students themselves have been led to believe that their dismal performance is attributable to many causes outside of their control…in short, NCLB has given the student an out, a reason for failure.

* Of course, in the process of it all, too many teachers’ careers have been adversly affected. The very concept of “BAD TEACHER” has become a label attached to those whose students simply do not care, who, in the process of giving up individually, serve to only poison the atmosphere of learning.

Do not…I say again…DO NOT applaude this foolish initiative of a past administration simply because a few kids have finally acquired the mysteries of arithmetic. This would be akin to casting lavish accolades upon the beaver for finally learning to build the dam.

GET THE GOV OUT OF THE EDUCATIONAL PROCESS!

RJ

May 19th, 2010
1:54 pm

@What’s UP! Scores haven’t been released to teachers either, however they will be sent home before the last day of school. I’m not sure if Cobb’s students took the test when APS did. That may be the reason. If you took it earlier, your score were back sooner.

Attentive Parent

May 19th, 2010
1:59 pm

Flypaper released this NCES table yesterday showing Big Declines at the top and middle of the achievement distribution on the PISA test during the NCLB era.

http://www.edexcellence.net/flypaper/index.php/2010/05/new-nces-analysis-big-declines-at-the-top-during-the-nclb-era/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+flypaper+%28Flypaper%3A+Ideas+that+stick+from+the+Education+Gadfly+team%29

Like Jacobs and Dee they do show gains among the lowest performers but no where near the magnitude of these declines.

This closes the achievement gap but at what cost?

j4a

May 19th, 2010
2:07 pm

My son is in 2nd grade and is reading at a 5th grade level blah blah:) I began teaching him to read in pre-k using the Dick and Jane books that I learned to read with at an early age. These books use the most often used words in the english language and the words are used repetitively throughout the stories.

Attentive Parent

May 19th, 2010
2:10 pm

With respect to reading; I agree that discipline is a problem but are elementary kids today getting enough content background knowledge to understand passages?

Here’s a great Dan Willingham video on the topic. I would love your thoughts on what he is saying.

Seen it all-

I can tell you’re not a fan of ZIg’s but the choices are not just betwwen DI and Whole Language (in its current iterations).

I have had wonderful luck with phonetically controlled readers that gradually introduce sounds and their letter representations. I tell them expressly which ones the current book is introducing and then later the less common spellings for already known sounds.

At the same time we are always reading wonderful books with rich language and funny or complex stories that they want to be able to read for themselves.

Why wouldn’t the type of program I’m describing be a true balanced approach to teaching reading?

Attentive Parent

May 19th, 2010
2:15 pm

I left out the link to the video. More caffeine for me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiP-ijdxqEc

Dan is a cognitive psychologist and his most recent book is Why Don’t Students Like School? that’s short and very good.

drew (former teacher)

May 19th, 2010
2:33 pm

V…..like you, I’m sick of the slogan also. The fact is, if school administrators would grow a pair and “leave a select few” behind, we’d be on the road to improvement. As has been mentioned, repeatedly…It’s all about the discipline! As long as the warm and fuzzy notion that ALL children can and must succeed, those who come to school to learn will continue to be robbed of a quality education by those who don’t.

But don’t give up hope…

“Our children is learning.”
-President George W. Bush

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nh4s6i4-7dg

high school teacher

May 19th, 2010
2:34 pm

I find it ironic that we have a blog on the decreased reading ability within a few days of a blog in which posters advocate texting during school hours. Of course reading has lagged behind; what do you expect from our generation that can’t not text?

I guess that I still should allow my students to read summaries on the Internet through their cell phones rather than reading out of some boring old book…

Rich

May 19th, 2010
3:00 pm

What should we change in NCLB to make it better? Like it or not, Senator Kennedy tried something new to improve the education system. I am not sure that it worked well. So where do we go next? Something different, not what we have done for years or decades.

V for Vendetta

May 19th, 2010
3:04 pm

high school teacher,

I’m not so sure the relationship is that black and white. I think ALL children can learn to “code switch;” however, it is not being enforced from a young age by their parents. When I was young, my parents drilled into my head that there were different acceptable ways of addressing people:

Friends: “What’s up, man?”

Adult/Person of Authority: “Good morning, sir.”

These are the skills that today’s kids lack. They have never been held accountable for their actions, and they think it is ok to speak or write however they want, whenever they want. It might seem like a simple thing, but I really feel that this is the problem at the heart of the matter. When I was in school, we passed notes. Those notes did not adhere to rigid grammar conventions. They did not contain perfect spelling. They sometimes used symbols or pictures as shorthand for words/phrases (sound familiar?).

But I could still write the heck out of an essay.

V for Vendetta

May 19th, 2010
3:04 pm

was it something I said? :-)

Maureen Downey

May 19th, 2010
3:11 pm

@What’s Up, I called DOE.
Individual student reports are just going out now to schools. (In fact, Cobb only got their reports yesterday for individual students.) Scores have been electronically sent to the schools from DOE,and it may be that some counties are compiling their own student reports rather than waiting for the specific student reports to arrive.
Maureen

catlady

May 19th, 2010
3:39 pm

Seen it all: are you my good twin? ‘Cause you said what I would say, but a whole lot nicer! BTW, we spend 220 minutes per day for Reading Only.

catlady

May 19th, 2010
3:40 pm

Ms. Downey: can you provide a link to the full report?

high school teacher

May 19th, 2010
3:44 pm

V, you do have a point – kids don’t have the skill of discernment, which is very important!

Maureen Downey

May 19th, 2010
3:46 pm

Hank Rearden

May 19th, 2010
4:01 pm

Yeah, but we got to lower taxes while education chased it’s tail for a decade.

retired teacher

May 19th, 2010
5:22 pm

V and former teacher…As a retired teacher,I could not say any of this better. I really got tired of parents telling me that by not giving their sweet teen a better grade I was breaking the law and would leave them behind…Then administrators got into this to…then It was time to retire.

Seen it all

May 19th, 2010
5:35 pm

Catlady,

Stop it!!!!! :) 220 minutes of just reading? I thought I had heard the best with “135 minutes of uninterrupted reading” (a true story). You definitely have me beat on that one.

catlady

May 19th, 2010
5:59 pm

Seen it: Almost–I mistyped it. 2 hrs 20 minutes (160 minutes) of no writing, no grammar, nothing but scripted reading (gag) and needs-based instruction focused solely on phonics and “fluency” (ie, saying words really fast) but NO focus on comprehension!!! And what is “reading” without comprehension! To quote the bard, “Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” We were told this year, after 6 years of this h3ll, that we might soon be “ready” to spend some time on comprehension! Meanwhile, I have 3rd graders who can read 200 wpm, but can’t tell you what the story was about!

We now have kids who have for their entire K-5 school career NEVER paid a whit of attention to what the words MEAN!

Thanks, RF! Hope you FOB enjoyed the money!

My county would have spent the money on dog doo if it had the words “research based” on the box!

The amount of taxpayer money spent on this boondoggle blows the mind! Millions in our small county, alone!

Gwinnett Parent

May 19th, 2010
6:39 pm

I do not understand why my daughter’s teacher does not request book reports or quiz the students on the reading material. It is easy to just coast when all you have to do is read and not understand. Yes, she can read several years above grade level. Understanding what she is reading…sometimes another story. Also, what happened to teaching Latin and Greek roots? Giving a student 5-10 spelling words a week just does not cut it.

ChristieS.

May 19th, 2010
7:30 pm

Gwinnett Parent, teaching Latin and Greek roots, along with other language roots, went out the window when TPTB decided to ignore the fact that English is a hodgepodge of several different languages with all the often contradictory rules that blend engenders. Instead, they decided to treat it as if it were a language isolate. Instead of explaining that /psi/ sounds the same as /sigh/ because of the rules of the different language roots, they just glossed over those facts and told the kids…”because.” Just my opinion, your mileage may vary.

ChristieS.

May 19th, 2010
7:30 pm

Maureen, I’m trapped in filterland! :D

Big Problem

May 19th, 2010
7:31 pm

I’m not sure that there is any magic to reading instruction. It is a very complex skill. Whole language didn’t work. Direct instruction without the reading practice component doesn’t work. The sad reality is that the old controlled vocabulary reading series along with lots of reading practice will help most children learn to read. It’s not much fun and it is hard work. We forget how difficult this process is because most of us learned to read at a young age. I think that we are trying to make a simple fix for a complex problem and it’s never going to work. There are too many variables.

I learned when my son was in kindergarten that some of this early reading stuff is developmental. My son didn’t learn to read as quickly as his kindergarten peers and mid-year his teacher began approaching me about having him repeat kindergarten. A friend of mine, an early childhood educator, suggested to me that some of this is developmental and that, in her experience, the magic age is 6. Some children break the code earlier and some much later. Sure enough, right around his 6th birthday, he started to read. He did not repeat kindergarten.

One my husband’s high school buddies was dyslexic. He spent his entire public school career in classes that were intended for students with low I.Q. He said he never understood why he knew things that his classmates didn’t. After he graduated high school his mother sent him to see a reading specialist who “diagnosed” dyslexia. Today he is a college graduate with a degree in engineering.

I’m not sure that the average early childhood educator knows enough about reading to help children who are experiencing severe reading difficulties. Our school systems might be well-served to place some true reading experts on their staffs. Our kids deserve the kind of help that will allow them to be successful. Reading is a key skill. We should not leave it to chance.

JTex

May 19th, 2010
7:42 pm

“GET THE GOV OUT OF THE EDUCATIONAL PROCESS!”

No.

Here’s what most of us seem to fail to understand. It is BECAUSE of GOVERNMENT mandates that we have a vast public education system. Systems that emphasize PRIVATE education or PUBLIC education create very small elite educated groups and very LARGE uneducated groups.

We don’t need to get GOVERNMENT out of schools, despite the populist mantra that is infecting the world today, we need to get ELECTED OFFICIALS out of schools. It was turning over education to those with no background WHATSOEVER in education that led to the train-wreck that is NCLB. It is the involvement of lawyers and businessmen who see everything in terms of ROI that has created much of the damage in our educational system, as well as a general attitude that education is evil. You simply can NOT reconcile an anti-intellectual society with good education.

No. We need to put education back in the hands of EDUCATORS. People who are EDUCATED, not people who get elected to office. We need to put the emphasis back on critical thinking and LEARNING, rather than testing and regurgitation. And most of all, we need to STOP crucifying anyone with an advanced degree. Do you honestly expect your children to value learning if you heap scorn upon the educated?

Get over yourselves.

ABC

May 19th, 2010
8:17 pm

I have a question for you teachers about reading. Is it possible we are teaching kids to read too young? My sons both learned to read in kindergarten, but I know I didn’t even start until 1st grade. Any thoughts?

Get the government OUT is right

May 19th, 2010
8:39 pm

No Child Left Behind.

Epic Failure; Bush Administration

Race to the Top

Epic Failure; Obama Administration

ScienceTeacher671

May 19th, 2010
8:46 pm

In Georgia, the CRCTs were dumbed down, and they are used for NCLB compliance rather than some sort of nationally normed test. An 8th grade student who is reading or doing math at a 5th grade level can pass the 8th grade CRCT, and even if s/he can’t pass the CRCT, s/he will probably be promoted anyway, and the school will be blamed for the student not passing, even if the student hasn’t done any work or attended school regularly.

If there were actual realistic standards, and if there were actual consequences to the student for not meeting those standards, we might eventually see some improvement. Until then? I don’t expect much.

catlady

May 19th, 2010
9:00 pm

ACTUALLY, RTTT will not cost a smidgen of what NCLB has cost.

catlady

May 19th, 2010
9:06 pm

ABC: I don’t think you can teach a child to read until they are ready to read. My daughter was reading at 4 1/2; my son before he turned 4. My younger daughter was past 5. They each read when they were ready–they had the skills and interest and motivation. Interestingly enough, it is the younger one about to complete the Masters in astrophysics.

I have taught over 800 kids to read. No one did it “too early.” I do think it is possible to TRY to teach your child before they are ready, when they have not developed the skill set needed. This leads to lots of frustration.

Let’s worry about something else.

Been there done that

May 19th, 2010
9:29 pm

V…you nailed it completely!!

irisheyes

May 19th, 2010
10:23 pm

@Gwinnett Parent, how is your daughter’s reading program set up? Most schools in Gwinnett are moving to a workshop model where the students are reading books at their instructional level. I don’t give comprehension quizzes anymore, but I met with each of my students individually every week to discuss the books they were reading. It’s amamzing. Most of my students can have a conversation about a book they’re reading now. Before, all they could do was regurgitate the setting, characters, plot, problem and solution. Now, they can do that and so much more! Unfortunately, while this method of reading instruction produces more thoughtful readers, it often doesn’t produce little bubble-filling automatons.

HStchr

May 19th, 2010
10:38 pm

I teach struggling readers in high school, so I see the full spectrum of issues from kids who never fully mastered phonics to kids who struggle with basic comprehension (word callers). The problem with reading instruction is that we keep looking for the magic, all-encompassing program to do it all. The solution IS the problem. There is no single program that will do it, no matter how much money we throw behind it. We have to train teachers in a wide variety of reading instruction methods, assess children’s abilities, and allow teachers the time to plan and teach what kids really need. Some kids do well in whole word instruction- they have phonics skills. So why teach them in a phonics based program? Some kids don’t have full mastery of basic phonics. So why teach them in a whole word environment? We can quote research all day long, and it comes down to training teachers and empowering them to do what kids in their classroom need. That’s the only way it will work. Group kids by needs and even set up whole classes based on similar needs, instead of force feeding a program and trying to offer remediation as an afterthought.

I spend hours each day doing the small group and one-on-one to try to catch up kids, and it can work if we’ll quit spending so much time having teachers spout the “program” and submit reams of paperwork to prove they are doing it.

Science Teacher

May 19th, 2010
10:41 pm

The Federal NCLB law was fashioned after a Texas approach that later was revealed to be all lies. Does anyone seriously think that after 10 years the federal NCLB will have any real impact?

Not this teacher.

The only thing that NCLB has done has wasted millions/billions of tax payer money. Remember, this was initiated by the REPUBLICANS that supposedly claim that they want fiscal responsibility. No. No really. What they really want is to kill public education.

[...] economist Thomas Dee for my article on his new No Child Left Behind study led me to a fascinating published piece by him a few years back on whether the gender of the [...]

Peter Meyer

May 20th, 2010
5:59 am

Anyone who has read E.D. Hirsch will not be surprised by these findings; reading is a skill that can not be taught in isolation from content. It is not NCLB’s emphasis on reading that is the problem, however, it’s the failure of educators to implement effective reading strategies, i.e. through content rich history, literature, and science curricula.

V for Vendetta

May 20th, 2010
8:34 am

JTex,

I disagree. I think it is easy to say that capitalism can’t produce better schools when it has never been tried. You’re right; we should get elected officials out of schools. However, I do not think it is possible to do that as long as schools are government run. We need to get a handle on this growing monster that we call our government.

Booklover

May 20th, 2010
9:47 am

Two harmful aspects of NCLB are:

1. Expecting students with an IQ of 50 to learn the same topics at the same depth as someone of regular intelligence. The teacher in the room next to me teaches such children (MI). She used to teach them life skills, but that has been pushed by the wayside and now she “teaches” them about pH levels and World War II. They leave school at 21 and can’t go grocery shopping on their own, but on a good day, they might remember WWII was in the last century.

2. The way reading is taught is ridiculous. We have socially promoted 9th graders who read at a 4th grade level. I have begged, begged, begged my administration to offer a resource reading class for these students so that they have some hope of getting caught up. A reading specialist on staff (she currently team-teaches social studies) offered to teach the courses. We are told that, because of NCLB, these students need to be “mainstreamed” into a regular class, where we read To Kill a Mockingbird and Shakespeare and these kids struggle and get frustrated. We are asking them to run a marathon when they can’t jog around the block yet.

[...] economist Thomas Dee for my article on his new No Child Left Behind study led me to a fascinating published piece by him a few years back on whether the gender of the [...]

AR

May 20th, 2010
10:46 am

The teachers are no longer teaching reading. They have the Accelerated Reading program now. This has replaced all reading in schools. The teacher never hears them read and IRI (Individual reading inventory) is not completed. This should be done at the beginning of the year to see where student is and then again at the end. The students then take AR test on books they have read. At the bottom of this sheet tells the teacher what they scored. 1 to 10 questions. This is not a true indication of ones reading abilities but it sure take the work load off the teacher. This is why it’s being done. This also challenges some motivated students to read. Not a true reading program though.

Vertigo

May 21st, 2010
3:08 pm

Booklover – YES!
“Expecting students with an IQ of 50 to learn the same topics at the same depth as someone of regular intelligence.”

I remember being in school where you were actually grouped by your academic level. Call it what you will…but it made perfect sense (and I reference your point above).

As you also stated – kids are not learning actual skills that they need…most elementary kids BARELY write in cursive, can address an envelope, nor write a proper letter…and unfortunately, teachers can’t actually weave those skills in to the curriculum because they have to teach to a ridiculous test that will mean absolutely nothing!

And yet – teachers are on the hook for children that can not “excel” by state “standards”.

ah, the dumbing down of a republic…

Incorporate reading into every subject

May 22nd, 2010
8:35 am

Peter Meyer you are right. I wanted to incorporate social studies and science into the long reading time alloted each day, so that I could help the children with vocabulary and the differences in reading a fiction and non-fiction book and was told that I was not able to do that. When I have taught this way before, my students were more engaged, learned better reading skills that stuck with them, and increased their vocabulary. Reading cannot be taught just with the reading book. Teaching reading must be woven throughout the subjects and the day.

We need to offer one on one help for students who struggle with learning to read. I was a struggling reader while in elementary school in the late seventies/early eighties and without my pull out class, I would not be the voracious reader I am today. I am not sure if I would have graduated from college with an undergraduate and graduate degree.