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State Assessment

In the 1990s, states began to implement school accountability systems to help the general public understand how well their local schools were performing. In 2001, the federal government enacted legislation called the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act that required states to implement approaches to grading schools each year based on their state test score results. Click on the questions below for information about state tests and accountability systems.

  • Where can I get more information about my state's tests?
  • How do I evaluate the quality of my state's assessment and accountability program?

Tests are not perfect measures of student achievement, and it is important for educators, parents, and community members to understand some of the measurement issues involved in interpreting test score results. The information that follows should help you understand some of the complexities involved in interpreting state tests and understanding how schools are labeled based on their test score results. Our goal is to help educators and the general public make sense of testing and accountability results.


Learn more about state tests by exploring the links below.

  • Tests Vary From State to State
  • Test Scores Are an Estimate Not a True Score
  • Some Tests Are More Difficult Than Others
  • The Criteria for Passing a State Test Differ
  • State and Federal Accountability Systems Are Different