Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Mark Golub

Reader 2

Vanessa Tyson

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2016 Corinna M Svarlien


The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was first passed in 1965 and has since been reauthorized several times, including as No Child Left Behind in 2001 and the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015. The ESEA seeks to address the needs of low-income students; however, decades of reform efforts and government reports documenting inequality have done little to close gaps in educational resources or outcomes for marginalized groups. Accountability systems based on standardized testing are seen by policymakers on the Left and Right as the best way to improve education for marginalized groups, improve students’ economic preparedness, hold schools accountable for the funds they spend, and maintain an objective meritocracy. This paper argues that testing is a flawed tool to achieve the goal of education equality as accountability systems rely on flawed assumptions influenced by conservative and neoliberal economic ideologies.