Leaving No Child Behind Yet Allowing None Too Far Ahead: Ensuring (In)Equity in Mathematics Education Through the Science of Measurement and Instruction

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Background/Context: For the past century, mathematics education in the United States has been effective at producing outcomes mirroring society’s historical inequities. The enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 was intended to address these differential educa- tional outcomes. Given the scope of this legislation’s impact on the way in which states, dis- tricts, and schools evaluate mathematics learning and conceptualize reforms in the teaching of mathematics, it is critical to examine the possible effects this may have on how mathemat- ical proficiency is determined and distributed. Purpose/Focus of Study: This inquiry raises questions about the manner in which the No Child Left Behind Act aims to improve mathematics education through an increased reliance on “objective” science. Specifically, the argument put forth here is that the policies of the No Child Left Behind Act leverage and intensify the “dividing practices” instituted in the early 20th century as a means of justifying the differential stratification of students in schools, thereby making equitable educational outcomes less likely than not. The questions guiding this inquiry are: How did these dividing practices first develop? What are the taken- for-granted assumptions under which they operate? How might technologies related to these practices, given renewed status due to the requirements of the NCLB Act, impact mathemat- ics education?

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  • SGR: 46449139230
  • PUI: 351928898
  • SCOPUS: 2-s2.0-46449139230
  • ISSN: 01614681


  • Mark Ellis

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