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Published in Print: August 11, 2004, as Critics' Choices

Critics' Choices

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Critics of the No Child Left Behind Act’s accountability provisions are offering a host of alternatives. Here are some of their suggestions:

  • Replace "proficiency" with "grade level" expectations or another performance standard deemed more meaningful.
  • Set what are considered to be more realistic goals for the amount of improvement schools are expected to make from year to year.
  • Permit states to use "growth" or "value added" models, which track the progress of individual students over time. Design the growth targets so that all students will reach the proficient level within a specified period.
  • Expand the use of "accountability indexes" to include measures beyond test scores and to give schools credit for students well above and below the proficient level.
  • Identify schools for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring only if the same subgroup misses its performance targets in the same subject for two years in a row.
  • Target the law’s provision of choice and supplemental services to students in the subgroup that missed its performance targets, not the whole school population.
  • Give more authority to states to design their own accountability systems as long as they make "significant" progress in the proportion of students at or above the proficient level and are closing achievement gaps.
  • Move beyond test scores as the sole, or even the primary, measure for judging schools.

Source: Education Week

Vol. 23, Issue 44, Page 33

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