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Making the Connection: Improving Student Completion Through Improved State and Institutional Policies


This project seeks to quantify the frequency and magnitude of the achievement trade-offs occurring under NCLB in the context of the act’s overall effects. Four questions are addressed: (1) Since the enactment of NCLB, have schools raised the achievement of low-performing students? (2) To what extent has this been accompanied by lower achievement of more advanced students (and possibly of students who are far behind)? (3) Is there evidence of enhanced efficiency under NCLB? (4) Do the answers to these questions change when the analysis is based on longitudinal student-level data as opposed to the information made public in school report cards, as required by NCLB?

Project activities consist of statistical analysis of student achievement data. Two sources of data are employed: school report cards published by state Departments of Education in compliance with NCLB; and longitudinal student-level data furnished to the researchers by Northwest Evaluation Associates, comprising information on more than two million students in over 700 districts. On the basis of this analysis, we will prepare several scholarly papers as well as more accessible policy briefs for a wider audience, describing the impact of NCLB on student achievement.