Questions and Answers on No Child Left Behind (page 2)
1. How are school report cards put together and what kind of information do they provide?
Reports on individual schools are part of the annual district report cards, also known as local report cards. Each school district must prepare and disseminate annual local report cards that include information on how students in the district and in each school performed on state assessments. The report cards must state student performance in terms of three levels: basic, proficient and advanced. Achievement data must be disaggregated, or broken out, by student subgroups according to: race, ethnicity, gender, English language proficiency, migrant status, disability status and low-income status. The report cards must also tell which schools have been identified as needing improvement, corrective action or restructuring (defined in Q-and-A below: "What if a school does not improve?").
2. How can parents see these local report cards, which include school-by-school data?
States must ensure that the local districts make these local report cards available to the parents of students promptly and by no later than the beginning of the school year. The law requires that the information be presented in an "understandable and uniform format, and to the extent practicable, in a language that the parents can understand." States and districts may also distribute this information to the media for publicizing; post it on the Internet; or provide it to other public agencies for dissemination.
Further, local school districts must notify parents if their child's school has been identified as needing improvement, corrective action or restructuring (defined in Q-and-A below: "What if a school does not improve?"). In this event, districts must let parents know the options available to them (see section on Choice and Supplemental Educational Services on page 23). Also, districts must annually notify parents of students in Title I schools of their "right to know" about teacher qualifications and how to exercise it (see section on Teacher Quality).
3. What information is provided on state report cards?
Each state must produce and disseminate annual report cards that provide information on student achievement in the state--both overall and broken out according to the same subgroups as those appearing on the district report cards listed above. State report cards include:
- State assessment results by performance level (basic, proficient and advanced), including (1) two-year trend data for each subject and grade tested; and (2) a comparison between annual objectives and actual performance for each student group.
- Percentage of each group of students not tested.
- Graduation rates for secondary school students and any other student achievement indicators that the state chooses.
- Performance of school districts on adequate yearly progress measures, including the number and names of schools identified as needing improvement.
- Professional qualifications of teachers in the state, including the percentage of teachers in the classroom with only emergency or provisional credentials and the percentage of classes in the state that are not taught by highly qualified teachers, including a comparison between high- and low-income schools.
4. What is "adequate yearly progress"? How does measuring it help to improve schools?
No Child Left Behind requires each state to define adequate yearly progress for school districts and schools, within the parameters set by Title I. In defining adequate yearly progress, each state sets the minimum levels of improvement--measurable in terms of student performance--that school districts and schools must achieve within time frames specified in the law. In general, it works like this: Each state begins by setting a "starting point" that is based on the performance of its lowest-achieving demographic group or of the lowest-achieving schools in the state, whichever is higher. The state then sets the bar--or level of student achievement--that a school must attain after two years in order to continue to show adequate yearly progress. Subsequent thresholds must be raised at least once every three years, until, at the end of 12 years, all students in the state are achieving at the proficient level on state assessments in reading/language arts and math.
Reprinted with the permission of the U.S. Department of Education.
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