Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Ewoh


The recent attention to the United States’ educational system has revealed that many students, especially those in underserved communities, are not receiving a quality education. The goal of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is to ensure that all children receive a high quality education (U.S. Department of Education 2001). The purpose of this study is to determine whether the No Child Left Behind Act has contributed to the academic success of the students in Cobb and Fulton counties in Georgia.

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) required all states to develop standardized tests and accountability systems in order to hold teachers and students accountable. Adequate yearly progress is a measurement of the percentage of students and schools that satisfy the requirements of NCLB. The Georgia Department of Education uses the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test as the adequate yearly progress assessment tool for elementary and middle school grades. Data from the Georgia Department of Education and the Cobb and Fulton county school districts were used to compare the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores of all the students to the subgroups of both the economically disadvantaged and the not economically disadvantaged students.

The goal of the No Child Left Behind Act is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education, and attain a level of proficiency on challenging state academic assessments. The findings indicate that the economically disadvantaged students in Cobb and Fulton counties typically score lower than students who are not economically disadvantaged. Therefore, the No Child Left Behind Act has not had a positive impact on the academic success of students in Cobb or Fulton counties.

The State of Georgia has received a waiver from some of the accountability requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act to allow for greater flexibility in the way schools, school districts and the state work together to improve the educational system. A critical challenge lies in the ability of the intergovernmental system to effectively address achievement gaps among income and racial/ethnic groups. It is imperative that additional studies are conducted, so that educators, parents, and policymakers continue to collaborate and implement ways to help Georgia students compete with their peers on a national level.