The Unintended, Pernicious Consequences of "Staying the Course" on the United States' No Child Left Behind Policy

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley


The phrase “no child left behind” has become a familiar expression in American education circles and in popular culture. The sentiment implied by these four words is noble. However, the effects of the top-down implementation of the high-stakes testing provisions of the law have been anything but salutary for public school children, teachers, and administrators. This claim is supported by data describing many of the ways in which well-intentioned but desperate educators, from the statehouse to the schoolhouse, have been driven to game the system in ironic defense of the children, teachers, and administrators least equipped to defend themselves. It is argued herein that, instead of reauthorizing the stronger accountability tenet of NCLB, it might do very well to let it fade away.


high-stakes testing; No Child Left Behind; testing policy; standards-based reform

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2015 Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.