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No Educator Left Behind:

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.


Can children who do not pass high stakes tests required under No Child Left Behind be promoted to the next grade or graduate from high school?


The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act does not address the issue of whether or not a student must pass a test in order to move on to the next grade or to graduate. This decision is made by a state's department of education.

The focus of NCLB is on ensuring that schools are making adequate yearly progress (AYP) as reflected in the results of a state's annual tests. As of the 2005-2006 school year, states are required to have annual assessments in reading and math in grades 3-8, and once between grades 10 and 12. By school year 2007-2008, states also must assess students in science at least once during grades 3-5, grades 6-9, and grades 10-12.

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