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No Educator Left Behind:
High Stakes Tests

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.


Doesn't the NCLB focus on test scores penalize good students who don't do well under testing pressure?


Testing has always been an important part of the education process. I like to say that what gets measured, gets done. Without regular measurement and assessment, schoolchildren may be undiagnosed and uncorrected and left to fall behind -- ending up, as the President has said, merely "shuffled through the system."

Under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, states and localities, not the federal government, determine the academic standards for which students are tested. Their purpose is to provide an independent insight into each school's progress, as well as each child's, so that no child -- regardless of race, ethnic group, gender or family income -- is trapped in a consistently low-performing school that does not meet his or her educational needs.

Such measurements are also important for teachers, letting them know if the curriculum needs to be reviewed and aligned with the content upon which state standards are based. The results also help teachers clarify those areas in which they may need more professional development. After all, the key mission of a school remains ensuring that children are learning. Annual assessments are vital to accomplishing it.

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