School accountability programs aim to improve student achievement by improving educator incentives. Have they done so? This report examines how state and federal accountability programs have affected the incentives of principals, superintendents, and school board members – finding some evidence that the federal No Child Left Behind Act (2001) may have made principals and school board members more accountable for student achievement. However, the report finds no effect on the incentives of school superintendents. This report also recommends a number of specific changes to the NCLB, should it be reauthorized.
The study was supported with funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.