Accountability Elements of the No Child Left Behind Act

Adequate Yearly Progress, School Choice, and Supplemental Educational Services

by Julie A. Marsh, Heather Barney, Jennifer Russell

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Standards-based accountability (SBA) under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 relies in large part on a complex set of technical definitions and measures of school and district progress at bringing all students to proficiency in language arts, mathematics, and science by 2014. The law requires states, districts, and schools to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) objectives for all students and student subgroups, and imposes a set of consequences for those failing to meet these targets. Drawing on RAND's Implementing Standards-Based Accountability (ISBA) project, this paper presents preliminary data on the interpretation and implementation of these accountability elements-AYP and the early sanctions of school choice and supplemental educational services-at the state, district, and school levels in three states.

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