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A History of Federally-Mandated Assessments in Education: From A Nation at Risk (1983) to the Conclusion of No Child Left Behind (2016)

Jennifer M Lichter, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Legislation leading to the mandating of accountability testing in schools was chronicled between the publication of A Nation at Risk (1983) to the conclusion of No Child Left Behind (2016). Involvement in education by the federal government increased throughout the educational legislation during this time period. The Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 included a provision for the improvement of schools. The Excellence in Math, Science, and Engineering Act of 1990 focused on education in the STEM areas. The School Dropout Prevention and Basic Skills Improvement Act of 1990 sought to increase graduation rates. The Education Council Act of 1991 and the Goals 2000: Educate America Act established groups to study education. The Improving America’s Schools Act reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as did the No Child Left Behind Act. However, No Child Left Behind mandated that schools make adequate yearly progress or face consequences. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 established grants for schools who fulfilled data collection and school improvement criteria. The political and cultural contexts of the time these pieces of legislation were passed were presented. Conclusions were drawn regarding the complexity and bi-partisanship of educational legislation passed between 1983 and 2016. The evolution of language used in the legislation showed increasing frequency of the use of forms of the word “assess” and “accountable/accountability” in No Child Left Behind and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. ^

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Educational administration

Recommended Citation

Lichter, Jennifer M, "A History of Federally-Mandated Assessments in Education: From A Nation at Risk (1983) to the Conclusion of No Child Left Behind (2016)" (2017). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI10266766.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI10266766

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