Manual Choosing a School for Your Child: No Child Left Behind

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NCLB: Holding Schools Accountable
Contents:
  1. Highlighting Strategies for Student Success
  2. NCLB: Holding Schools Accountable
  3. Choices for Parents
  4. No Child Left Behind: What Worked, What Didn't
  5. No Child Left Behind (NCLB): What You Need to Know

Several of the analyses of state accountability systems that were in place before NCLB indicate that outcomes accountability led to faster growth in achievement for the states that introduced such systems. These statistics compare with though No Child Left Behind did not even take effect until Critics point out that the increase in scores between and was roughly the same as the increase between and , which calls into question how any increase can be attributed to No Child Left Behind.

They also argue that some of the subgroups are cherry-picked —that in other subgroups scores remained the same or fell. Education researchers Thomas Dee and Brian Jacob argue that NCLB showed statistically significant positive impact on students' performance on 4th-grade math exams equal to two-thirds of a year's worth of growth , smaller and statistically insignificant improvements in 8th-grade math exam performance, and no discernible improvement in reading performance. Critics argue that the focus on standardized testing all students in a state take the same test under the same conditions encourages teachers to teach a narrow subset of skills that the school believes increases test performance , rather than achieve in-depth understanding of the overall curriculum.

This is colloquially referred to as " teaching to the test. Many teachers who practice "teaching to the test" misinterpret the educational outcomes the tests are designed to measure. On two state tests, New York and Michigan , and the National Assessment of Educational Progress NAEP almost two-thirds of eighth graders missed math word problems that required an application of the Pythagorean theorem to calculate the distance between two points. Another problem is that outside influences often affect student performance.

Students who struggle to take tests may perform well using another method of learning such as project-based learning. Sometimes, factors such as home life can affect test performance. Basing performance on one test inaccurately measures student success overall. No Child Left behind has failed to account for all these factors.

Those opposed to the use of testing to determine educational achievement prefer alternatives such as subjective teacher opinions, classwork, and performance-based assessments. Under No Child Left Behind, schools were held almost exclusively accountable for absolute levels of student performance. But that meant that even schools that were making great strides with students were still labeled as "failing" just because the students had not yet made it all the way to a "proficient" level of achievement. Since , the U. Department of Education has approved 15 states to implement growth model pilots.

The incentives for improvement also may cause states to lower their official standards. Because each state can produce its own standardized tests, a state can make its statewide tests easier to increase scores. Many argue that local government had failed students, necessitating federal intervention to remedy issues like teachers teaching outside their areas of expertise, and complacency in the face of continually failing schools.

For example, Wisconsin ranks first of all fifty states plus the District of Columbia, with ninety-eight percent of its schools achieving No Child Left Behind standards.

Student performance in other subjects besides reading and math will be measured as a part of overall progress. NCLB's main focus is on skills in reading, writing, and mathematics, which are areas related to economic success. Combined with the budget crises in the lates recession , some schools have cut or eliminated classes and resources for many subject areas that are not part of NCLB's accountability standards.

In some schools, the classes remain available, but individual students who are not proficient in basic skills are sent to remedial reading or mathematics classes rather than arts, sports, or other optional subjects. According to Paul Reville , the author of "Stop Narrowing of the Curriculum By Right-Sizing School Time," teachers are learning that students need more time to excel in the "needed" subjects. The students need more time to achieve the basic goals that should come by somewhat relevant to a student.

Physical Education , on the other hand, is one of the subjects least affected. Charles H. Hillmam of The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that concludes that fitness is globally related to academic achievement. The opportunities, challenges, and risks that No Child Left Behind poses for science education in elementary and middle schools—worldwide competition insists on rapidly improving science education. Adding science assessments to the NCLB requirements may ultimately result in science being taught in more elementary schools and by more teachers than ever before.

Most concern circulates around the result that, consuming too much time for language arts and mathematics may limit children's experience—and curiosity and interest—in sciences. Both U.


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Libertarians further argue that the federal government has no constitutional authority in education, which is why participation in NCLB is technically optional. They believe that states need not comply with NCLB so long as they forgo the federal funding that comes with it. NCLB pressures schools to guarantee that nearly all students meet the minimum skill levels set by each state in reading, writing, and arithmetic—but requires nothing beyond these minima. It provides no incentives to improve student achievement beyond the bare minimum.

In particular, NCLB does not require any programs for gifted, talented, and other high-performing students. In the budget, President George W.

Bush zeroed this out. Research tells us an IQ of is needed. According to the No Child Left Behind Act, by , every child is supposed to test on grade level in reading and math. The system of incentives and penalties sets up a strong motivation for schools, districts, and states to manipulate test results.

For example, schools have been shown to employ "creative reclassification" of high school dropouts to reduce unfavorable statistics. However, none of these "missing" students from Sharpstown High were reported as dropouts. Particularly in states with high standards, schools can be punished for not being able to dramatically raise the achievement of students that may have below-average capabilities [ citation needed ].

Common acceptable changes include extended test time, testing in a quieter room, translation of math problems into the student's native language, or allowing a student to type answers instead of writing them by hand. Simply being classified as having special education needs does not automatically exempt students from assessment.

Highlighting Strategies for Student Success

Most students with mild disabilities or physical disabilities take the same test as non-disabled students. For example, a school may accept an Advanced Placement test for English in lieu of the English test written by the state, and simplified tests for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

Organizations that support NCLB assessment of disabled or limited English proficient LEP students say that inclusion ensures that deficiencies in the education of these disadvantaged students are identified and addressed. Opponents say that testing students with disabilities violates the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act IDEA by making students with disabilities learn the same material as non-disabled students.

NCLB includes incentives to reward schools showing progress for students with disabilities and other measures to fix or provide students with alternative options than schools not meeting the needs of the disabled population. The IDEA authorized formula grants to states and discretionary grants for research, technology, and training. It also required schools to use research-based interventions to assist students with disabilities.

The amount of funding each school would receive from its "Local Education Agency" for each year would be divided by the number of children with disabilities and multiplied by the number of students with disabilities participating in the schoolwide programs. In , George Bush signed provisions that would define for both of these acts what was considered a "highly qualified teacher. The effects they investigate include reducing the number of students who drop out, increasing graduation rates, and effective strategies to transition students to post-secondary education.

They are pleased that students are finally included in state assessment and accountability systems. NCLB made assessments be taken "seriously," they found, as now assessments and accommodations are under review by administrators. Particular research has been done on how the laws impact students who are deaf or hard of hearing. First, the legislation makes schools responsible for how students with disabilities score—emphasizing " For example, NCLB requirements have made researchers begin to study the effects of read aloud or interpreters on both reading and mathematics assessments, and on having students sign responses that are then recorded by a scribe.

It has been aimed at young students in an attempt to find strategies to help them learn to read. Evaluations also have included a limited number of students, which make it very difficult to draw conclusions to a broader group. Evaluations also focus only on one type of disabilities. One concern is how schools can effectively intervene and develop strategies when NCLB calls for group accountability rather than individual student attention.

NCLB: Holding Schools Accountable

An IEP is designed to give students with disabilities individual goals that are often not on their grade level. An IEP is intended for "developing goals and objectives that correspond to the needs of the student, and ultimately choosing a placement in the least restrictive environment possible for the student. This was in effect pushing schools to cancel the inclusion model and keep special education students separate. NCLB, in contrast, measures all students by the same markers, which are based not on individual improvement but by proficiency in math and reading," the study states.

Don't we want to know how much a child is progressing towards the standards? We need a system that values learning and growth over time, in addition to helping students reach high standards. In addition, Indiana administrators who responded to the survey indicated that NCLB testing has led to higher numbers of students with disabilities dropping out of school. They worry that not enough emphasis is being placed on the child's IEP with this setup.

Spelling, two Illinois school districts and parents of disabled students challenged the legality of NCLB's testing requirements in light of IDEA's mandate to provide students with individualized education. Their parents feared that students were not given right to FAPE. The case questioned which better indicated progress: standardized test measures, or IEP measures? It concluded that since some students may never test on grade level, all students with disabilities should be given more options and accommodations with standardized testing than they currently receive.

All students who are learning English would have an automatic three-year window to take assessments in their native language, after which they must normally demonstrate proficiency on an English-language assessment. However, the local education authority may grant an exception to any individual English learner for another two years' testing in his or her native language on a case-by-case basis.

In practice, however, only 10 states choose to test any English language learners in their native language almost entirely Spanish speakers. The vast majority of English language learners are given English language assessments. Many schools test or assess students with limited English proficiency even when the students are exempt from NCLB-mandated reporting, because the tests may provide useful information to the teacher and school.

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In certain schools with large immigrant populations, this exemption comprises a majority of young students. NCLB testing under-reports learning at non-English-language immersion schools, particularly those that immerse students in Native American languages. Any participating school that does not make Adequate Yearly Progress AYP for two years must offer parents the choice to send their child to a non-failing school in the district, and after three years, must provide supplemental services, such as free tutoring or after-school assistance.

After five years of not meeting AYP, the school must make dramatic changes to how the school is run, which could entail state-takeover. As part of their support for NCLB, the administration and Congress backed massive increases in funding for elementary and secondary education. This was consistent with the administration's position of funding formula programs, which distribute money to local schools for their use, and grant programs, where particular schools or groups apply directly to the federal government for funding.

In total, federal funding for education increased A smaller early-reading program sought to help states better prepare 3- to 5-year-olds in disadvantaged areas to read. The program's funding was later cut drastically by Congress amid budget talks. Funding Changes: Through an alteration in the Title I funding formula, the No Child Left Behind Act was expected to better target resources to school districts with high concentrations of poor children. The law also included provisions intended to give states and districts greater flexibility in how they spent a portion of their federal allotments.

Choices for Parents

These students were often shut out of the general education curriculum and left out of state tests. NCLB also set the expectation that struggling students learn alongside their peers. By making schools report their results by subgroup, NCLB shined a light on students receiving special education services. Schools were pushed to give struggling students more attention, support and help. And they did. The graduation rate for students with specific learning disabilities increased from 57 percent in to 68 percent in On the negative side, some say that NCLB focused too much on standardized testing.

This left little time for anything else the kids may have needed or wanted to learn. Certain penalties, such as requiring school improvement plans, were reasonable, critics said.

No Child Left Behind: What Worked, What Didn't

Critics linked several cheating scandals to NCLB, citing the pressure on teachers and educators to perform. Despite the controversy, most people supported parts of NCLB—especially requirements for highly qualified teachers, research-based instruction and basic reporting on school results. Most federal laws are not meant to be permanent. They need to be reauthorized every few years. NCLB spent many years in limbo, waiting for reauthorization.

Read up on other laws important to parents of children who have learning and attention issues, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or Section of the Rehabilitation Act. If your child has an IEP , you may also want to explore standards-based IEPs as well as types of accommodations that are available for test taking. Often referred to as NCLB. Specially designed instruction, provided at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.

It can include specialized activities in gym, music and arts education and specialized instruction in the classroom, home or other settings. Each state can set its own goals for student achievement within that federal framework. States were responsible for holding schools accountable for student achievement. The law provided a framework for states, but there was less flexibility for states to set their own goals.

The law also put forward a universal goal that every student in every school be proficient in reading and math. States must test students in reading and math once a year in grades 3 through 8, as well as once in high school. They must also test kids in science once in grade school, middle school and high school. Students with IEPs or plans can get accommodations on all annual state tests.

ESSA encourages states and districts to get rid of unnecessary testing. The law includes funding for them to audit their current testing. These are tests that align with personalized learning and competency-based education. States had to test students in reading and math once a year in grades 3 through 8, as well as once in high school.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB): What You Need to Know

They also had to test kids in science once in grade school, middle school and high school. That could be the Common Core State Standards. Each state must use four academic factors that are included in the law.

International CE No Child Left Behind System

States can choose a fifth factor that impacts school quality. Overall, states must give more weight to the academic factors than to the school-quality factors. NCLB focused solely on student academic achievement and primarily used state reading and math test scores when evaluating how schools were doing. States must set achievement targets for students in schools.

States must also set ambitious goals for groups of students who are the furthest behind, like students in special education. These goals should help close the gap with other students. There are no federal penalties for struggling schools.