No Child Left Behind? How Schools Neglect High Achievers

A new study shows that by focusing so much on bringing low achievers to proficiency, we're stunting the potential of academically advanced kids.

For the past decade, closing the achievement gap and ensuring no child is left behind has dominated the education reform conversation. But what happens to the already high-achieving students—the gifted ones reading far above grade level? The latest study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute shows that over the long haul, these students have a tough time maintaining their stellar achievement track records and often fail to improve academically.

Conducted by analysts from Northwest Evaluation Association, the study examined more than 120,000 students attending more than 1,500 schools nationwide. By following the progress of one group of students in both reading and math from third to eighth grade, and a second group's progress from sixth to 10th grade, the researchers found that nearly half failed to maintain their elite academic performance.

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