Secretary Hints of Changes
Ben Feller, The Associated Press, July 9, 2005
For more articles like this
Secretary Margaret Spellings showed growing support Friday for
letting states change how they score student progress, a
potentially major policy shift.
Under the No Child Left Behind law, schools are gauged based on
how their current students perform compared with last year's
students on math and reading tests.
State leaders say that system does not account for yearly
changes in the student population and does not credit students
who make big gains but fall short of school goals.
Spellings, addressing a gathering of the American Federation of
Teachers, gave her strongest indication yet that she may embrace
a "growth model" _ that is, one that measures the academic
growth of individual students as they move among grades.
Some states are experimenting with such an idea, but a federal
policy on the topic could trigger a broad shift in how progress
is measured nationwide. Spellings has appointed a group to study
a growth model, and she told AFT members she is committed to
working on it.
"We need to have an understanding of what we mean by that, and
what the necessary conditions are," Spellings told reporters
after her comments to the AFT. "And then, I'm hopeful that
netting out of that conversation will be a way to allow people
to get credit for the progress they've made. And I believe in
that as a policy matter."
Asked whether such a change is likely to happen, she said: "I'm
not going to handicap that yet, I don't know. I just put the
people to work."
The issue is significant because schools that receive federal
poverty aid but don't make "adequate yearly progress" for at
least two straight years face mounting penalties.
The AFT says the current federal measure of progress doesn't
measure progress at all.
Spellings said there will be no change in the requirement that
states give math and reading tests to students in grades three
to eight yearly, and at least once in high school. Such testing,
she said, must be the cornerstone of any effort to chart student
The federal education law sets the unprecedented goal of
ensuring all children are proficient in reading and math by
2013-14. States decide exactly what proficient means.
back to the top ~
back to Breaking News
~ back to