"No Child Left Behind"

The effect of the No Child Left Behind-NCLB Act on High-Stakes Testing-HST has caused controversy amongst different stakeholders in the education sector. High Stakes Testing arises from the fact that test outcomes get used to make important decisions in a child’s life. Such decisions may include the repetition of a grade, denial of a high school diploma, withholding of educational funding and even the closure of an institution. According to the No Child Left Behind Act, all children regardless of mental or physical challenges, race or socioeconomic status are to have an equal opportunity to get high-quality public education.

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I thereby challenge the NCLB act that requires proficiency in reading and mathematics. Emphasis on reading and mathematics lead to less stress or rather elimination of other disciplines like Art, music, history, science and physical education in many low performing public schools. Creativity, critical thinking and debate, are unheard of in these schools. These get replaced by repetitive test-preparation activities. Research shows that most schools have eliminated some courses to make time for math and reading.

High stakes test scores are more akin to socioeconomic status rather than to test preparation. These standardized tests are unfair to poor, minority and non-English-speaking students in low funded schools. They compete with middle class students on the same high stakes tests. These children cannot be expected tobe at equal test level as students whose living conditions are the opposite (Dale & Johnson 2006). With high stakes testing, less fortunate students go through stress and humiliation while denied a decent education enjoyed by students in affluent schools.

Measurement issues have been a reason for concern on High Stakes Testing. Standardized tests inaccurately evaluate a child’s weaknesses and strengths. This makes the results unreliable. Faults in test design and grading have created problems leading to the recalling of test results in some places like Nevada and Georgia.

Although the proponents of No Child Left Behind-NCLB Act argue that it has focused the grievances of the undeserved minority poor students, High-Stakes Testing-HST has resulted in increased numbers of school dropouts as schools concentrate on the middle range performing students and neglect of the low performing students. As such, No Child Left Behind-NCLB Act on High-Stakes Testing-HST proponents have failed to implement its efficacy in the education sector.

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