The No Child Left behind Act in the Global Architecture of Educational Accountability

Christian Ydesen, Sherman Dorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although chiefly framed in the context of domestic education policy, debates about the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) echoed international education policy debates and the workings of global education governance. As this article demonstrates, both domestic and international efforts were shaped by three key features: tension between centralized goals and historically localized practices and authorities; links between education policy goals and a set of rhetorical arguments centered on human capital; and competitive comparisons among education systems that mixed market rhetoric with prestige dynamics. These common features can be attributed to the development of a soft governance layer, in which multilateral surveillance plays a major part. In the US, such development began before NCLB, accelerated during the NCLB era, and remained after NCLB was replaced by the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-290
Number of pages23
JournalHistory of Education Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022


  • Accountability
  • American education
  • Global education
  • No child left behind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • History


Dive into the research topics of 'The No Child Left behind Act in the Global Architecture of Educational Accountability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this