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School Performance Will Fail to Meet Legislated Benchmarks


"Declines in student achievement without accountability in the U.S. led to the establishment of The No Child Left Behind Act requiring all K-12 students to be "proficient" in both mathematics and English Language Arts by 2014. With its large, diverse population, California provides an ideal data set for gauging the progress of schools. We used multi-level statistical analyses incorporating standardized test data in mathematics and English Language Arts from nearly 5000 elementary schools to observe and predict progress towards achieving the 2014 proficiency goal. Independent of the growth models that were used, we found that with the current legislation, nearly all schools will fail to meet the proficiency targets prior to that date. In addition, we found that the highest risk groups within schools are the most likely to fail, thus jeopardizing our ability to train the next generation of scientists."