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Merging the accountability and scientific research requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act: Using Cohort Control groups

Stockard, J.
This study uses published, aggregated data on the results of implementations of Reading Mastery to show how school assessment data, such as that mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), can be analyzed in ways that meet the Act’s requirement of “scientifically based research.” The first part of the article uses the classic literature on research design (the Campbell, Stanley, and Shadish tradition) to show how these data fulfill the criteria associated with cohort control group designs or cohort control group with historical comparisons designs. It also shows how these designs are internally valid; that is, they can provide valid evidence of causal relationships. An example is developed with aggregated data from one school district, describing calculations of tests of significance and effect sizes. The second part of the article uses the “grounded theory of generalized causal inference” described by Shadish and associates to compare results from 18 different sites. Sixty comparisons involving different grade levels and varying characteristics of schools and students are analyzed. Assessments include state assessment pass rates and DIBELS and norm referenced average scores. Average effect sizes (Cohen’s d) were .46 across the 60 comparisons and .56 across the 18 sites. These values are similar to those reported in meta-analyses of DI programs and surpass the usual criteria used to denote educational importance. Values were also similar across sites with different characteristics. Implications for school officials and policy makers are discussed, and appendices provide more details on the individual analyses and the computations. (Copyright © 2011, National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI). All rights reserved).
Research areas:
Main publication type:
Program Effectiveness
stte tst scrs; crclm bsd msrs; nrm rf tsts; qsi exp dsgns
Quality and Quantity: International Journal of Methodology
Design type:
Fidelity monitored:
Students included:
Elementary Students, General Education, Hispanic, African American, Alaskan/Native American, Caucasian students
Other tags:
State Assessments, DIBELS, Norm Referenced Assessments
Midwest, South, West
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