The Facts About Measuring Progress - No Child Left Behind
By U.S. Department of Education
For too long, America's education system has not been
accountable for results and too many children have been locked
in underachieving schools and left behind.
Information is power; testing and gathering independent
data are the ways to get information into the hands of parents,
educators and taxpayers.
Why Testing Will Work
Testing provides information. Until teachers and parents recognize
what their students know and can do, they can't help them
improve. Testing will raise expectations for all students
and ensure that no child slips through the cracks.
- Under No Child Left Behind, every state must set clear
and high standards for what students in each grade should
know and be able to do in the core academic subjects of
reading, math and science.
- States will measure each student's progress toward those
standards with tests aligned with those higher standards.
- Testing is not new to education. Good teachers and excellent
schools and districts have always used tests to provide
objective and up-to-date information on how their students
Testing allows teachers, parents and principals to follow
each child's progress.
- Every student should make substantial academic progress
every year in every class. Good instruction will ensure
that they meet this goal.
- Annual testing tells parents and teachers how much progress
students have made toward meeting the academic standards.
- Annual tests show principals exactly how much progress
students at each grade level have made so that principals
and teachers can make good decisions about teacher training
- Accountability systems gather specific, objective data
through tests aligned to standards and use that data to
identify strengths and weaknesses in the system.
No Child Left Behind will test every child in grades three
through eight and give parents report cards for every school;
highlighting success and shining a light on failure.
- The law requires that all schools be held accountable
for making sure that every student learns.
- Test scores will be broken out by economic background,
race and ethnicity, English proficiency and disability.
That way parents and teachers will know the academic achievement
of each group of students and can work to ensure that no
child will be left behind.
- Testing tells parents, communities, educators and school
boards which schools are doing well. If a school takes a
challenging population and achieves great results, testing
will show that. If a school is allowing certain groups to
fall behind year after year, testing will expose that, too.
Cheryl Krehbiel, a fourth-grade teacher at Broad Acres Elementary
School in Silver Spring, Md., said, "Clearly students
can't learn what I don't teach them. Having the courage
to learn about my own professional needs from the [testing]
data is a lesson that I can't afford to miss."
The president and Congress provide the resources to pay for
testing: $384 million in 2003 to help states develop and administer
reading and math tests.
U.S. Department of Education (www.ed.gov),
Office of the Under Secretary and Office of the Intergovernmental
and Interagency Affairs, Washington, D.C., 2002. This report
is in the public domain. Authorization to reproduce it in
whole or in part is granted.
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