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Abstract

Recent state and national policy changes for public education are premised upon the idea that high-stakes tests can improve student outcomes and close achievement gaps. Opponents maintain that such policies fail on both counts. Using a unique longitudinal dataset from North Carolina, we find that high-stakes tests have failed to close achievement gaps associated with social class and race, and that the persistence of these gaps is related, at least in part, to academic tracking. Such findings add to the questions being raised about such policies as No Child Left Behind.