The Difference Between the Every Student Succeeds Act and No Child Left Behind

Sue, Jason


APA Citation

The Understood Team. (n.d.). The difference between the Every Student Succeeds Act and No Child Left Behind. Retrieved from


This resource gives a side by side comparison of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB). In both acts, the onus is on the States to hold students accountable. One of primary differences between the two acts is that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is more flexible about the of setting academic goals than its predecessor the No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Also, NCLB did not limit the proportion of students who could take an alternative test whereas ESSA limited the proportion to 1% of test takers. As a measure of accountability, the ESSA allows a wide range of factors such as reading and math test scores, high school graduation rates, as well as other optional factors such as kindergarten readiness. In contrast, the NCLB’s measures of accountability focused on academic achievement relying primarily on reading and math test scores.


The Difference Between the Every Student Succeeds Act and No Child Left Behind is a great overview on the differences between Every Student Succeeds Act and its predecessor (No Child Left Behind). It doesn’t cover the minutia but is perfect for someone who only needs a summary of these two pieces of legislation.



The Every Student Succeeds Act: An ESSA Overview

Hudson, Evelyn


Klein, A. (2016, March 31). The every student succeeds act: An ESSA overview. Retrieved from

This article gives an excellent overview of the ESSA for those who are unfamiliar with it. The article breaks down the ESSA into different parts such as “Accountability Goals” and “Testing” to clearly explain the coming changes. There are also videos in several sections for those who need additional explanation.
As someone who knew nothing about the ESSA before this course, I feel much more knowledgeable after reading this article. I appreciated the use of text and videos to really drive the concepts home.

Every Student Succeeds Act to Boost Libraries

Felix Davila III
Peet, L., & Vercelletto, C. (2016). ESSA signed into law. Library Journal, 141(1), 12-14. Retrieved from
Peet and Vercelletto’s article primarily details a new law that was signed by the Obama administration in late 2015. The Every Student Succeeds Act will allow states to determine their own standards for education, so long as they reach a preset difficulty standard, while also allowing federal funding to be distributed to school libraries.

While brief, this article derives its importance, in my opinion, by showing how political action can factor into the success of libraries. Overall, librarians must also consider, beyond just their effectiveness at work, how they can positively impact the industry toward improving itself toward better funding, opportunities and employment. It is a law such as this that can send a message to school districts that school libraries should be looked upon with importance.

CA-Starting the conversation about school libraries and ESSA

Emily Ratica


Church, A. (2016). Starting the conversation about school libraries and ESSA. Knowledge

Quest, 45(1), 4.

This short snippet, written by Audrey Church, the 2016–2017 AASL President, quickly reviews the American Association of School Librarians’ official position on the importance of school library programs in light of the new Every Student Succeeds Act.  She reestablishes that “an ESLP [effective school library program] is led by a certified school librarian who is a teacher and instructional leader…[and] school librarians play in instruction in various types of literacies and learning” (4). 

While short, this article gives a clear message which is an important reminder for all: Librarians and libraries are IMPORTANT! It is easy to get caught up in our daily activities as we go throughout the school year, but this reminds us that it is essential that we advocate for our programs at our schools and now we have federal legislation to back us up.  


CA-What Educators NEED TO KNOW about ESSA

Emily Ratica


Fennell, M. (2016). What educators NEED TO KNOW about ESSA. Educational Leadership, 73(9), 62-65.

The new “Every Student Succeeds Act” replaces the previously frustrating and often baffling “No Child Left Behind.” Many educators are honestly excited about this new legislation, as it removes items like the necessity of each school to meet their AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress), specific federal teacher requirements (in addition to state requirements), and changes to teacher evaluation. It also adds in items, like how schools will implement new standards that gear students toward college and career readiness, more funding toward professional development and teacher-led professional growth, and, most importantly for librarians, actual funding for school library programs.

This article provides a good overview of the new legislation and how all professionals can become involved it its interpretation and implementation. It is essential for all educators involved in every level of education to get to know and fully understand ESSA, as we must be the ones actively advocating for our programs within our sites and districts.