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The Effect of 'No Child Left Behind' Act on School Performance of Children

Date & Time:
September 17, 2014 | 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location:
SS 423
Speaker:
Razieh Zahedi

ABSTRACT:  The “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) Act was introduced in 2002, and uses standardized Mathematics and English test scores to evaluate the performance of public schools in the United States. There is a large amount of literature investigating how the goals of the NCLB Act have been met since its introduction. However, very few studies have looked at the unintended consequences of this policy or underlying mechanism of this policy. The main critique of this policy is whether evaluating students based only upon Mathematics and English test scores gives us a real picture of a student’s success in the future; or whether improvement in English and Mathematics comes as an expense of other skills. This paper sets out to empirically quantify the effect of the NCLB Act on a variety of outcomes such as Mathematics, English and Science and Non-cognitive skills using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey-Kindergarten (ECLS-K) dataset. To identify the effects of this policy, I developed a model of school optimization behavior to estimate the school’s production function technology and identify its objective function. The estimates allow me to uncover the effects and underlying mechanism of this policy. I use the estimates to conduct a counter-factual experiment where I predict the test scores of students in the absence of this policy. The counter factual experiment shows Mathematics test scores have been improved after this policy. In addition, the results of this study could not find any significant change in school’s behavior before and after the policy. The results of this study not only allow us to evaluate NCLB Act, but also provide insights into possible future revisions to this act which I believe it can benefit all aspects of a student’s achievement more effectively.

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