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No Educator Left Behind: Whose Standards?

No Educator Left Behind is a series providing answers from the U.S. Department of Education to questions about the federal No Child Left Behind Act and how it will affect educators. If you have a question about No Child Left Behind, send an e-mail to Ellen Delisio, and we will submit your question to the Department of Education.

Question:

What is the Department of Education doing to ensure that standards for measuring annual yearly progress are comparable from state to state? (That is, ensuring that some states tests and/or requirements for passing arent substantially easier than other states.)

U.S. Department of Education:

Consistent with our nation's system of education, which is state-directed and controlled, states are responsible for setting standards for what children should know and be able to do, and assessing students' progress towards those standards.

Under the 1994 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, states were required to develop reading/language arts and mathematics standards for three grade spans, and also to develop assessments that measure progress toward those standards. The No Child Left Behind Act makes important advancements and improvements to what states already are doing. Now, students in grades 3-8 will be tested annually to see how they perform relative to state standards. And every two years, the state tests will be benchmarked to the National Assessment of Education Progress scores for each state. Such a comparison will help the public judge the relative rigor of each state's standards and the performance of students.

Read previous questions and answers in our No Educator Left Behind archive.

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