State and Local Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, Volume I: Title I School Choice, Supplemental Educational Services, and Student Achievement
July 11, 2007
U.S. Department of Education
No Child Left Behind's supplemental educational services (SES) provisions have endured much criticism since 2001 (see here and here, for example). But a new evaluation from the U.S. Department of Education suggests that the free tutoring offered under SES is doing some real good. RAND analysts used longitudinal data from nine major urban school districts to compare students who received SES services with those who did not. Of the seven districts yielding sufficient data, SES students in five made statistically significant gains in both reading and math. Admittedly, the gains for first-time users are small, but those students who avail themselves of SES for multiple years realize greater benefits. Unfortunately, few kids are taking advantage of SES: just "24 to 28 percent of eligible students in grades 2 through 5" and "fewer than 5 percent" of eligible high schoolers. Still, the ranks of SES-ers exceeded those who took advantage of NCLB's school choice provisions, which this report also covers. Less than 1 percent of eligible students moved to a different school. For the small sample of students that did change schools, RAND found no significant gains in achievement. See here to judge the report for yourself.