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A few less Tennessee schools failing to meet NCLB standards

A few less Tennessee schools failing to meet NCLB standards

Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 11:36 am
By: The Associated Press

The Messenger 07.30.08

Associated Press Writer
NASHVILLE (AP) — A few less Tennessee schools are failing to meet performance standards under the federal No Child Left Behind law, but two key school districts are still listed on a “high priority” list, state education officials said Monday.
Tennessee measures whether schools and districts are making “adequate yearly progress,” or AYP, toward the goal of 100 percent of students being proficient in reading and math, and a 90 percent graduation rate by 2014.
Schools that don’t meet benchmarks in the same subject area for at least two years are considered high priority and are subject to state sanctions.
Davidson and Robertson counties have posted at least four years of failing test scores and remain a high priority. Robertson improved this year, but Davidson moved a step closer to being sanctioned, officials said.
Tennessee reduced the number of schools on the high priority list to 134 from 139 last year. Twenty-eight schools have come off the list entirely, according to the Department of Education.
“We are extremely pleased with the positive side of the results that we have seen and look forward to helping these districts to continue to improve,” said Education Commissioner Tim Webb.
Connie Smith, the department’s director of accountability, said this is the earliest results have been returned to districts, giving them a good opportunity for “school improvement planning.”
“This shows us that … when you put the right people in the right place, and the right curriculum, you can move these schools off the list,” Smith said.
The 2002 federal No Child Left Behind law judges schools based on students’ math and reading test scores.
Schools face increasingly tough consequences for scores that miss the mark.
Schools and districts must meet performance standards in 37 categories at each grade to be deemed in good standing under the federal law.
A poll released last month by The Associated Press shows Americans have mixed views about standardized tests used to measure students’ ability.
About half of those polled said the tests measure the quality of education offered by schools well. The rest disagree.
The vast majority think classroom work and homework — not standardized tests — are the best ways to measure how well students are doing.
Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen said last week that the NCLB law has worked to some degree, but he doesn’t like the way it “tends to aggregate and group kids.”
“We need to be looking through that to the individual student,” he said. “We need to organize the system around them and not around various subgroups.”
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