Senator introduces legislation to assess student progress fairly
Using input from Idaho educators, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo introduced legislation that will improve the landmark education bill, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Crapo introduced the Improving No Child Left Behind Act or INCLB, to give students, teachers and schools more flexibility in student assessment and accountability provisions. Crapo said he agrees with education stakeholders that existing evaluation methods of students’ learning must be made to be more fair and accurate.
“Idaho educators, parents and administrators told me that many of the provisions in the original legislation didn’t account for specific challenges faced by states like ours,” Crapo said. “That is why it is necessary to make revisions that will give Idaho and other states more flexibility to use additional methods to gauge student progress that set up more rational policies for tutoring and other supplemental services, and that will make it easier for students with disabilities or language difficulties to be fairly tested and assessed. We all want our children to receive the best education possible, and I will continue to push for reasonable, realistic improvements that will benefit Idaho’s students as well as many others throughout the nation.”
Crapo worked with the Idaho School Boards Association, the Idaho Education Association and the Idaho Department of Education as well as educators at the federal level on the recommended changes contained in the INCLB legislation. He heard concerns over the assessment of sub-population groups in the yearly assessment of overall school progress, student participation percentage requirements for schools, and students being placed in more than one sub-group when being tested for annual yearly progress of that school. Key provisions of his new legislation include:
• Allowing supplemental services like tutoring to be offered to students sooner than they are currently available.
• Increasing flexibility for states to use additional types of assessment models for measuring student progress.
• Granting states more flexibility in assessing students with disabilities.
• Ensuring more fair and accurate assessments of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students.
• Creating a student testing participation range, providing flexibility for uncontrollable variations in student attendance.
• Allowing schools to target resources to those student populations who need the most attention by applying sanctions only when the same student group fails to make adequate progress (AYP) in the same subject for two consecutive years.
• Ensuring that students are counted properly in assessment and reporting systems.
Crapo’s bill was introduced today in the U.S. Senate and has been referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.