Growth models: States could measure growth in individual student achievement over time instead of comparing cohorts of students. All student subgroups would have to be proficient in math and reading by the original law’s 2013-14 deadline or else be “on a trajectory” to reach proficiency within three years.
Multiple measures: States could use indicators besides their math and reading tests for accountability, including graduation, dropout, and college-going rates; percentages of students successfully completing endof- course exams for college-prep courses; and assessments in government, history, science, and writing.
Annual goals: Those other measures could count for 15 percent of an elementary school’s annual accountability goals and 25 percent of a high school’s goals. Local tests: Under a 15-year pilot project, states could include, in addition to statewide assessments, a system of local tests aligned to state standards.
Subgroup size: The plan would set a uniform “N” size of no more than 30 students. The term refers to the minimum number of students a school or district must have from a subgroup, such as English-language learners, for the group to count for accountability purposes. The greater the size, the easier it is to exclude certain subgroups from AYP calculations.
Confidence intervals: The plan would set a maximum “confidence interval” of 95 percent. A confidence interval is a statistical technique that permits a school or subgroup to make AYP, even if it misses its target, as long as its performance falls within a band set around that target, similar to the margin of error in polling data.
Provide incentives for states to collaborate with higher education and business to set standards aligned to the demands of college and the workforce.
Set a single definition of graduation rates. States would have to set goals for improving such rates and break down graduation data by subgroup.
Authorize money for Title I districts for core-curriculum development and expand instructional time for subjects such as art, music, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, history, and physical education.
Ensure that Title I schools are not shortchanged in state and local funding formulas by requiring that actual teacher salaries be included in measuring comparability of resources between those schools and non-Title I schools.
Establish a more transparent peer-review process for states’ NCLB accountability plans.
Create differentiated consequences for schools that fail to make AYP for only one or two subgroups, in contrast with those that miss achievement targets for more subgroups.
SOURCES: House Education and Labor Committee; Education Week
A version of this article appeared in the September 05, 2007 edition of Education Week