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No Educator Left Behind: NCLB, IDEA

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.


How do NCLB and IDEA interact?


The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are complementary pieces of legislation that work together to improve results for students with disabilities.

NCLB provides the structure of systemic accountability for results through the adequate yearly progress (AYP) system established in Title I. IDEA provides the individual child with a disability with rights and responsibilities to ensure that the child receives a free appropriate public education. Most importantly, IDEA requires that the local educational agency develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each child with a disability. This document describes the educational, developmental, and behavioral supports that the child will receive.

IDEA requires that the IEP, which is developed by a team consisting of school officials and the childs parent, include a description of how the child will be assessed, not whether the child will be assessed. Students with disabilities must be included in the assessment system required under NCLB.

IDEA and NCLB require states to provide appropriate accommodations on the regular state assessment (such as more time, a quiet room, or larger print), offer an alternate assessment aligned to grade level standards (such as use of Braille or portfolio assessments), or develop an alternate assessment aligned to alternate standards for up to 1 percent of all students. This array of appropriate assessments allows NCLB and IDEA to work jointly to improve results for students with disabilities and ensure that no child with a disability is left behind.

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