Research Paper Proposal

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Bobby Moore

Ed 300

Professor Dougherty


Potential Research Question – How has educational value shifted from a complete to a more test based curriculum due to No Child Left Behind? How has accountability changed the idea of education especially in Connecticut?

The drive to make teachers more accountable for their students is a trend spreading across the nation like wildfire. While there are positives to accountability there are also many negative aspects to go alongside. I believe that teachers should be accountable, but to what degree? How much impact, for example, is it fair to expect a teacher to have on a student who comes from a broken home? What do we expect from a teacher who takes on a student who received a poor education prior to entering that teacher’s class? Are we expecting a teacher to produce the same test scores from students in a lesser class as they do from students in an honors class?

Another main aspect to my argument is the entire idea of “teaching to the test”, which is a curriculum that is entirely based off of preparing students for test taking.

A key example of this idea is the No Child Left Behind Act. In a major expansion of the federal role in education, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) requires annual testing, specifies a method for judging school effectiveness, sets a timeline for progress, and establishes specific consequences in the case of failure. Over the past decade we have seen the entire idea of education change due to the No Child Left Behind program. Test scores are one way to evaluate students, teachers, and schools, but cannot be the only way. It is important to remember that tests are more than just numbers and scores. There are many other ways to conduct testing which do no place such extreme emphasis on numerical value and test taking. I want to take a look at the curriculum for schools before NCLB and after. I plan on using the state of Connecticut especially and my main sources in regards to Connecticut will be the CMT scores over the past 12 years.


Aspey, Susan. “Charting the Course: States Decide Major Provisions Under No Child Left Behind.” U.S. Department of Education.

Ravitch, Diane. The death and life of the great American school system: how testing and choice are undermining education. New York: Basic Books, 2010. Print.

“Teacher Accountability: Test Scores an Incomplete Measure – Teacher Talk – Connecticut News.” Connecticut News – Connecticut News. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2012.

“Testing: Frequently Asked Questions.” U.S Department Of Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2012. <>.


“Connecticut Student Assessment.”Connecticut Student Assessment. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2012. <>.

I also plan on using the various web resources on our wesbsite:

6 thoughts on “Research Paper Proposal”

  1. Bobby,
    Do you remember Daniel’s final project from last semester? It might help with your research. “How the No Child Left Behind Act Widened Achievement Gaps in the Greater Hartford Region”.
    ~ Fionnuala

  2. Bobby, this is an interesting topic, and I wonder whether it would help you to ask a slightly more focused research question, such as:
    Was the practice of “teaching to the test” a widespread problem before the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and to what extent did the law make it more prevalent?

    Please leave a reply here to discuss whether you agree with this direction (or have another suggestion), and how you will improve your search strategy for appropriate sources.

  3. Bobby, I also wish to clarify that one of my expectations for this Educ 300 assignment is for students to find appropriate source materials beyond what we have already covered in the course syllabus. I strongly encourage you to update your proposal — either here in the comments, or via a new post — with a clearly defined research question and relevant sources, as soon as possible, to make sure that you’re headed in the right direction for this major assignment.

  4. Bobby, you emailed me to ask about finding appropriate primary or secondary sources for a research question on “teaching to the test” over time. I recommend that you do the following:

    1) search full-text databases (such as New York Times Historical) with the phrase “teach to the test” and/or “teaching to the test” to find out when this concept first arose in print, and whether it became more frequent before/after NCLB.

    2) search EdWeek and WorldCat for with the same phrases for news stories/journal articles/books

    3) make an appointment with a librarian, show your RQ and search strategy so far, and ask for more advice about how to find appropriate sources that emphasize “change over time”

    hope that helps

  5. New research question – Was the practice of “teaching to the test” a problem in education before the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and to what extent did the law make it more prevalent?

    Primary Source:

    I will be using the websites Education Week and the New York Times database to compare and contrast how often articles about and relating to the idea of teaching for the test arise. I will look at the change over time and how its prevalence in the news, the classroom, and in teachers minds effected how people viewed teaching to the test before & after NCLB was created.

    Jay P Greene – Education Myths: What Special Interest Groups Want You to Believe about Our Schools, and Why It Isn’t So

    I have a meeting scheduled tonight at 7:00 during our regular class time with a librarian to find more sources

    The NCLB online databas

  6. Bobby, good to see you make progress on this topic. Perhaps your meeting with the librarian helped you to focus on scholarly articles and books that specifically address your research question, rather than NCLB at large. Be sure to start writing out full citations, since merely copying & pasting a web page does not meet our guidelines for the next assignment.

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