Group and Interaction Effects with "No Child Left Behind": Gender and Reading in a Poor, Appalachian District

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Abstract

Critics of “No Child Left Behind” judge that it oversimplifies the influence of social context and the place of socially ascribed traits, such as social class, race, and gender, in determining achievement. We hold that this is especially likely to be true with regard to gender-related group effects and gender-implicated interaction effects. We make our concerns concrete in a multilevel, repeated measures analysis of reading achievement in a poor, rural school district located in the southern coalfields of Appalachian West Virginia. Our results suggest that as the percentage of students who are male increases, school mean scores in reading achievement decline for three reasons: individual males do less well than females; the greater the percentage of males, the lower the scores for all students; added to that, the greater the percentage of males, the lower the scores for males specifically. Given the accountability measures and sanctions proposed by “No Child Left Behind,” having a large percentage of males in a school could be disastrous. We conclude that gender effects in reading achievement are complex, easily overlooked, and have no obvious remedy. As such, they lend credence to the view that “No Child Left Behind” oversimplifies the social context of schooling and underestimates the importance of social ascription.

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How to Cite
Bickel, R., & Maynard, A. S. . (2004). Group and Interaction Effects with "No Child Left Behind": Gender and Reading in a Poor, Appalachian District. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 12, 4. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v12n4.2004
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Author Biographies

Robert Bickel, Marshall University

Robert Bickel is Professor of Advanced Educational Studies at Marshall University. His recent research is concerned with correlates of crime on school property, the limits of educational reform in promoting rural development, and adverse consequences of schools’ efforts to meet the requirements of “No Child Left Behind.” He has recently completed a monograph on multi-level analysis for education policy analysts.

A. Stan Maynard, Marshall University

Stan Maynard is Professor of Secondary Education at Marshall University. He is also Executive Director of the June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development. His primary interest has long been development of innovative, cost-effective ways to assure high-quality public education for less-advantaged students living in isolated rural areas