Practice Activity: Understanding Standards-based Reform
Understand the Impact of NCLB
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The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requires us to determine the degree to which schools, school systems, and the state are helping all students achieve. In the context of standards based reform, the NCLB requires us to assess student, school, school system, and state progress toward reaching the goal of all students achieving at the proficient level by 2014. The NCLB requirements for assessment of progress are:
    The state must administer annual assessments in reading/language arts and mathematics in grades 3 — 8 and at least once in grades 10-12.

    The assessments must be aligned with state content standards.

    Student performance must be measured against state content standards and must be reported in terms of at least three proficiency levels.

    At least 95% of children enrolled in a state and 95% of children in each major subgroup must participate in the assessment.

    The assessments must involve multiple, up-to-date measures of student academic achievement, and must be designed to report valid and reliable itemized score analyses. The assessments must produce individual score reports that allow parents and educators to understand and address the student’s specific academic needs in an understandable format and, to the extent practicable, in a language the parent can understand. Results must be reported by the beginning of the subsequent school year after the assessment was administered.

    The assessments must serve as a major component in setting adequate yearly progress goals for subgroups of students within schools.Each state, using data from the 2001/2002 school year, was required to establish the baseline for calculating the annual measurable objective (AMO) fpr the years from 2002 to 2014.


    Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is designed to measure the continuous improvement each year toward the NCLB goal of 100% proficiency in 2014. Maryland has set annual Measurable Objectives (AMO's) that all students and the eight subgroups identified in NCLB also need to meet. The intent, therefore, is to ensure that schools direct their instructional improvement efforts toward historically low performing subgroups and, by extension, all low performing students. The goal of 100% proficiency ensures that all students, not just low performing students, are expected to continuously progress.

    Where are our students in relationship to the Maryland Content Standards? What evidence do we have?

      What is the role of state assessments in providing this information?

      A state assessment can determine whether students are advanced, proficient, or not proficient at the content level. It can classify students reliably on these three categories with (8) psychometrically sound items for each expectation within a content area. (The number of expectations or outcomes within a content area determines the number of items required to reliably assess proficiency for the entire content area). An annual state assessment program doesn't provide the information that teachers need to make daily instructional decisions. A teacher needs much more information to diagnose individual student needs and make decisions about when and what to re-teach.

      A state assessment program needs to assess the relative success or failure of schools and school systems. The consequences of making an error in the classification of a school or school system as unsuccessful are serious. The technical goal of a state assessment program is to minimize the possibility of misclassification. Since the state doesn't have an opportunity to take multiple measurements, it must minimize classification errors by strengthening the psychometric properties of the test instrument.

      What is the role of the school district in providing this information?

      School systems are also limited in the number of measurements they can take of students. Furthermore, they may not have the expertise or staff to design psychometrically sound testing instruments. They may be supplementing with norm-referenced tests that are not measuring Maryland's Content Standards. Therefore, the role of the school district in providing this information is much less than the role of the classroom teachers.

      What is the role of the classroom teacher in providing this information?

      Teachers collect daily information about where students are in relationship to what is being taught. They use multiple measurements that may include tests, homework assignments, presentations, or oral responses to questions. They need the diagnostic information to determine what they need to teach and re-teach and when they need to provide additional interventions. When teachers give multiple measurements to monitor students’ progress, the consequences of an error in any single measurement are relatively minimal.

    What do teachers need to know and be able to do to monitor student progress on the Maryland Content Standards?

      Teachers need to understand the content standards.

      They need to understand how the content standards are organized into more discrete expectations and indicators, and what students are expected to know and perform at the indicator level in order to be classified proficient and advanced.

      Teachers need to teach the content standards.

      All grade/content level teachers need to know which content standard indicators they are responsible for teaching.They would benefit from having illustrative activities, lesson plans, and performance tasks that model the teaching of selected indicators.

      Teachers need to assess the content standards.

      They need to understand that the content standards are assessed at the indicator level and to understand how to design observational opportunities for students to demonstrate through performance what they know and can do. When designing these observations, they need to be able to identify on the cognitive taxonomy table what they are measuring.Teachers need to be able to interpret the performance and make decisions about when and what to re-teach.They would benefit from having illustrative performance assessments and other observation opportunities as models.

      Teachers need to monitor student progress.

      They need to know how to collect appropriate data to track student progress and to diagnose strengths and needs.They need to know how to determine whether a student is making satisfactory progress. They need monitoring tools that are directly related to content standards and the performance expectation of what students should be able to do.

    You may also find the following web site information on No Child Left Behind and AYP useful.

    How does Maryland implement Adequate Yearly Progress?

    No Child Left Behind Web Site published by the U.S. Department of Education

    Maryland's Consolidated Accountability Plan (PDF)

    Maryland State Department of Education Consolidated State Application Accountability Workbook (revised October 2005) for State Grants under Title IX, Part C, Section 9302 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (Public Law 107-110) U. S. Department of Education.

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