No Child Left Behind: A postmortem for Illinois


  • Wm. Gregory Harman Dominican University
  • Camille Boden Dominican University
  • Jeremy Karpenski Dominican University
  • Nicole Muchowicz Dominican University



No Child Left Behind, NCLB, standards, testing, standardized tests, Illinois, Chicago, Common Core, policy, performance, compliance, Prairie State Achievement Examination, PSAE, quantitative research


In this study, the outcomes of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), as implemented in Illinois, are evaluated in terms of high school standards testing results between 2003-2013. NCLB was a policy dedicated to closing the gap in schooling outcomes nationally in the space of a decade. There have been few systematic examinations of its macro-level results for those exiting high school, especially considering the attention, time, effort, and money dedicated to its implementation. It has been subsumed into newer reform policies that move forward from the same assumptions and structures without a look back. This is a macro study of the outcomes in one state, Illinois, using its assessment system. Data include Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE) results in reading and math as well as graduation rates from high schools. The data is evaluated across the state as a whole and within categories of urban, suburban, town, and rural. Outcomes in reading, math, and graduation rates remain unchanged across the decade at the state and all community-type categories. Potential problems with implementation and design of NCLB are proposed with the intention of informing current and future policy, especially in regard to continuing a standards/accountability regime under the Common Core.


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Author Biographies

Wm. Gregory Harman, Dominican University

Greg Harman, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor in his sixth year in the School of Education at Dominican University. He coordinates the secondary, social studies, and Teach for America secondary programs. He has published in Teaching & Learning: The Journal of Natural Inquiry & Reflective Practice, Teaching with Primary Sources, and Critical Questions in Education. He has presented at the University of Illinois Forum on the Future of Public Education and at the Critical Questions in Education Conference. 

Camille Boden, Dominican University

Camille Boden, MAT, is a kindergarten teacher at Rowe Elementary School in Chicago. She has experience as an English teacher in Lyon, France, and as a reading teacher for the Institute of Reading Development. She presented at the Critical Questions in Education Conference in Louisville, Kentucky in the fall of 2014. 

Jeremy Karpenski, Dominican University

Jeremy Karpenski, MAT, is a middle school social studies teacher at East Prairie School in Skokie, IL. He presented at the Critical Questions in Education Conference in Louisville, Kentucky in the fall of 2014. 

Nicole Muchowicz, Dominican University

Nicole Muchowicz is currently in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Dominican University. She is also a full time English teacher and the Theatre Director at Saint Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois.




How to Cite

Harman, W. G., Boden, C., Karpenski, J., & Muchowicz, N. (2016). No Child Left Behind: A postmortem for Illinois. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24, 48.