No Child Left Behind

No Child Left Behind–2007

OCTELA joins NCTE in recommending that changes be made to No Child Left Behind through the 2007 reauthorization process.  Specifically, OCTELA  believes that federal legislation should provide opportunities and support efforts for local schools and districts to develop effective assessments that best fit their needs.

The kind of high-stakes testing mandated by NCLB encourages “teaching to the test,” a detrimental practice that leaves little time for teaching the kind of critical thinking more appropriate to the challenges of today’s world.  The type of knowledge represented by most high-stakes tests also fails to represent the kind of knowledge and its application required in a multitude of modern professions.

Results from statewide high-stakes tests are poor measures of overall school performance.  Rather, local schools and districts should have the freedom to develop a variety of assessments that more fully capture the effectiveness of their schools, their teachers, and their unique students.

Achievement should be measured longitudinally; “growth models” that track learning over time are more constructive to students and schools than simply looking at changes in the percentage of students who pass mandated state tests, as currently required by NCLB.  New value-added models of assessment will help create a more comprehensive picture of the growth of students over time.

Finally, federal legislation should encourage highly prepared, experienced teachers to work in schools with the largest numbers of high need students.  Frequently, schools with the neediest students are staffed by the least experienced teachers, a practice that leads to students’ failing to meet their potential and teachers’ leaving their profession.

OCTELA urges that the outlined problems be addressed in the reauthorization of NCLB and supports the following NCTE recommendations:

  • Use of multiple assessments to determine school and student progress;
  • Redirection of Title II funding to  support teacher professional  development;
  • Implementation of federal programs which support placing highly qualified teachers in high need schools;
  • Adoption of a peer review system for grand review and alignment with National Research Council definitions of “scientifically based research”;
  • Adoption of growth models to replace the current AYP measures.

For more information and specific recommendations, access the NCTE website: