Publications & Resources

Test-based Educational Accountability in the Era of No Child Left Behind

Apr 2005

Robert L. Linn

The ever-increasing reliance on student performance on tests as a way of holding schools and educators accountable is discussed. Comparisons are made between state accountability requirements and the accountability requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. The resulting mixed messages being given by the two systems are discussed. Features of NCLB accountability and state accountability systems that contribute to the identification of a school as meeting goals according to NCLB but failing to do so according to the state accountability system, or vise versa, are discussed. These include the multiple hurdles of NCLB, the comparison of performance against a fixed target rather than changes in achievement, and the definition of performance goals. Some suggestions are provided for improving the NCLB accountability system.

Linn, R. L. (2005). Test-based educational accountability in the era of No Child Left Behind (CSE Report 651). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).