Document Type


Publication Date



Accountability to the public, rating system

Series Title

Office for Education Policy

Series Number

Volume 01 Issue 09


The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001, the cornerstone of the Bush Administration’s plan to reform K-12 education, strengthens significantly the federal role in education through sweeping reforms to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The stated legislative intent of the NCLB Act is “to close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left behind” (PL-107-110 [20 U.S.C. §6301, et seq.], 2001). Key provisions of the measure, for both Title I and non-Title I schools, are as follows: • accountability for education results through annual standardized testing and through additional standards that determine a school’s adequate yearly progress (AYP); • publication at the state and local levels of an annual report card detailing each school’s test scores and movement toward accomplishing AYP standards; • implementation of a system of rewards and sanctions to promote school improvement; and • implementation of a plan to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers in every classroom. This policy brief discusses these key provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act in more detail.