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United States Lessons about School Accountability

Eric A. Hanushek
Published Date: 
Winter 2004
CESifo DICE Report
pp. 27-32

The United States has launched a new experiment designed to improve its schools. The most publicized
portion of this is the current federal educational policy to expand school accountability based
on measured student test performance. Although many states had already installed accountability
systems by 2000, a central campaign theme of George W. Bush was to expand this to all states
something that became a reality with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The landmark
NCLB codified a developing policy view that standards, testing and accountability were the path to
improved performance. This discussion provides evidence on the expected effects of NCLB not only
on student performance but also on other potential outcomes.