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No Educator Left Behind:
Uniform Student Proficiency

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:

Why doesn’t NCLB contain one uniform definition of student proficiency?

U.S. Department of Education:

One of No Child Left Behind (NCLB's) most important components is flexibility for states and local schools. By allowing individual states to develop their own definitions of student proficiency we can ensure that the federal government is not mandating a one-size-fits-all approach. NCLB recognizes that the educational issues in New York City may be very different from those in Lincoln, Nebraska. Therefore state variations may exist.

It should be noted that the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) will provide a uniform measure by which to judge the assessment systems of various states. Under NCLB, a small, randomly chosen sample of students in each state participates in NAEP periodically. The results are compared among states to verify that the progress being shown on the state-designed tests taken by all students is real. NCLB, it should be noted, explicitly bans anything resembling a national or federal test for all students. States design the tests to be taken by all students, not the federal government.

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

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