Bubble Kids Benefit

David J. Hoff
A new study out of Chicago suggests that low-achieving and high-achieving students haven’t benefited from No Child Left Behind.
When comparing changes in Chicago students’ test scores pre- and post-NCLB, researchers Derek Neal and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach found a “strikingly consistent pattern” in the test scores of students with lowest-achievement test scores. They scored “the same or lower” under NCLB’s accountability system than they did in the 1990s under the Chicago’s accountability measures.
When looking at gifted students, the researchers found “mixed evidence of gains” in the NCLB era.
Kids in the middle–the ones closest to proficiency–performed better under NCLB than they did before.
This study lends credence to common critiques of that law encourages teachers to focus on the so-called bubble kids–the ones that are close to reaching proficiency.