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How to Cite the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 in APA Style


The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was passed by Congress in 2001 but not signed into law by President George W. Bush until 2002. Since the law was enacted by the federal government, follow the American Psychological Association rules for citing federal statutes.

In-Text Citations

In APA style, when citing a law in text, list the official name of the law, the acronym for the law -- in brackets -- followed by a comma and the year the law went into effect, all within parentheses. So the first citation of the No Child Left Behind Act in the text would look like: (No Child Left Behind [NCLB], 2002). Subsequent citations in text would read: (NCLB, 2002). If you mention the act in the text, insert the year it was enacted in parentheses, for example:

Smith noted that the No Child Left Behind Act (2002) had a profound impact on the educational system.

Special Considerations

The No Child Left Behind Act is officially known as Public Law 107-110 -- usually abbreviated to P.L. 107-110 -- and the bill was originally passed by Congress in 2001 but not signed into law until 2002. Use the former date (2001) when giving the name of the act but the latter date (2002) when listing the year the law was actually enacted. APA notes that the preferred source for federal statutes is the United States Code, which is abbreviated as U.S.C. Place the volume number before U.S.C., which is 20 for the No Child Left Behind Act. After the abbreviation for the code, you would use this symbol -- § -- to indicate the section number you are citing.

References Page Entry

According to APA, to cite any References page entry, use the following order: the name of the statute, the official name of the act, the source, the symbol for the section number -- § -- the section number(s) and the year in parentheses. For the No Child Left Behind Act, the official name for the act is P.L. 107-110, the source is volume 20 of the United States Code and the section varies. So, a References page citation might read:

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, P.L. 107-110, 20 U.S.C. § 6319 (2002).

If the reference requires more than one line to fit on your computer screen, ensure that any extra lines are indented 1/2 inch to the right of the first line.

APA Legal Reference Tips

To cite the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the APA requires you to list the common name of the act before the official title -- P.L. 107-110 -- because the reader is unlikely to be familiar with the title number. State and local municipality laws are cited in similar fashion. They also have common and official names and are cited in the same order, with the common name written first and the official name second, in parentheses. For example, the NY Secure Ammunition and Firearms Act of 2013 is the common name for a gun control law passed in New York state, which is officially known as NYS.2230, because it was first introduced in the New York state senate.

About the Author

Daniel Pinzow served as an urban science teacher for several years. He has expertise in a variety of subjects, ranging from biology to chemistry to history to sports. In addition, he has worked extensively in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) after-school programs.

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