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Under The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), states must improve the quality of their schools from year to year. NCLB is based on the goal that all children will be proficient in reading and math by 2014. The percentage of students proficient in reading and math must grow until the schools reach 100 percent proficiency. States must individually help high-poverty schools meet the same academic standards as non high-poverty schools.

States have to set their own standards in reading, writing, math, history, and science for students in each grade level. States must then create tests that are aligned with the standards they have created and are expected to meet those standards – this is called Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Test results must be divided up into several categories, including minority groups, students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged, and students that have limited English proficiency. Ninety-five percent of the students in every subgroup must be included in the tests.

Performance by schools will be public knowledge and schools will receive a report card on the results of the student’s scores. If schools do not meet the state standards, they will be held accountable. For instance, any school that fails to achieve AYP for two consecutive years will be identified by the state as “needing improvement” and must offer students the opportunity to transfer to another school within the district.

After a third year, schools must offer supplemental services, such as tutoring. Schools that do not show adequate progress after five years may be forced to take tough corrective action, such as replacing school personnel or extending the school year.

The accountability standards, however, only apply to Title I schools.

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