Saturday, March 20, 2010

Replacing NCLB (part 4): staying serious about achievement gaps

The Obama administration has published a "blueprint" for revising the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replacing NCLB.  My earlier posts addressed its approaches to standards, assessment, and schoolwide accountability. Now it's time to look at the rules for student subgroups.

The "challenge school" interventions for the lowest results will apply both to schools with overall weak growth and to schools that move too slowly on achievement gaps.  Thus:
Schools that are not closing significant, persistent achievement gaps will constitute another category of Challenge schools. In these schools, districts will be required to implement data-driven interventions to support those students who are farthest behind and close the achievement gap.
Added requirements for school data systems will also make gap issues easier to track:
To foster public accountability for results and help focus improvement and support efforts, states must have data systems in place to gather information that is critical to determining how schools and districts are progressing in preparing students to graduate from high school college- and career-ready. States and districts will collect and make public data relating to student academic achievement and growth in English language arts and mathematics, student academic achievement in science, and if states choose, student academic achievement and growth in other subjects, such as history. At the high school level, this data will also include graduation rates, college enrollment rates, and rates of college enrollment without need for remediation. All of these data must be disaggregated by race, gender, ethnicity, disability status, English Learner status, and family income.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!