NCLB, which went into effect beginning with the 2002-03 school year, strengthened the assessment and accountability provisions of the law, requiring that states annually test all students in grades 3-8 and once in grades 10-12 with assessments that are aligned with challenging state standards. States must also set targets for school and district performance that lead to all students achieving proficiency on state reading and mathematics assessments by the 2013-14 school year. Schools and districts that do not make adequate yearly progress (AYP) towards this goal for two consecutive years are identified as needing improvement and are subject to increasing levels of interventions designed to improve their performance, as well as to provide additional options to their students. In schools identified for improvement, districts must offer students the option to transfer to another school. If an identified school misses AYP again (for a third year), low-income students in the school must be offered the option to receive supplemental educational services from a state-approved provider. If an identified school misses AYP for a fourth year, the district must take one of a set of "corrective actions" specified in the law, and if the school misses AYP for a fifth year, the district must begin planning to restructure the school.
NCLB also requires that all teachers of core academic subjects become "highly qualified," which the law defines as having a bachelor's degree and full state certification as well as demonstrating competence, as defined by the state, in each core academic subject that he or she teaches. Exhibit 1 provides a more detailed summary of key NCLB provisions.