Policy Sciences, Education- United States, Education Reform, United States No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Higher Education- Government Policy, Education Change- Government Policy


This study investigated how education policy influences student success, and if there are linkages between K-12 education policy and higher education. Historically, education has primarily been a function of state and local governments. The role of the federal government drastically changed with the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. This thesis focused on the influence of No Child Behind on several indicators of student success in K-12 and postsecondary education. All fifty states were examined in this study. This approach is rather unusual since it is typical to focus on one state or a small group of states. In addition to the state level analyses, macro analyses were also conducted to generate sounder policy prescriptions. This study tested three primary research questions. The first research question tested possible changes in several measures of student success since the implementation of No Child Left Behind. The second research question analyzed the relationship between K-12 education policy and higher education. The third research question addressed the possibility that state education reforms have had an impact on test scores, graduation rates, and college enrollment. Findings showed that K-12 test scores have improved on the national level since the implementation of No Child Left Behind, but there are several states that have witnessed a decline in test scores since legislation was enacted. There was no relationship between the state reforms and the variables that measured student success. Based on the findings, policy prescriptions were generated for both leaders within education and policymakers.


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Graduation Date



Kiel, Dwight


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Sciences


Political Science

Degree Program

Political Science








Release Date

May 2009

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Restricted to the UCF community until May 2009; it will then be open access.