While low achievers are improving thanks to No Child Left Behind, our best students suffer from benign neglect, write Tom Loveless and Michael Petrilli in a New York Times op-ed. While, a Center on Education Policy study showed more students are reaching the “advanced” level on state tests than in 2002, these tests are too easy to measure how high achievers are learning.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress . . . found relatively little progress among our highest-achieving students (those in the top 10 percent) from 2000 to 2007, while the bottom 10 percent made phenomenal gains. For example, in eighth-grade math, the lowest-achieving students made 13 points of progress on the national-assessment scale from 2000 to 2007 — roughly the equivalent of a whole grade. Top students, however, gained just five points.
Closing the achievement gap shouldn’t be our only goal, they argue.