Archive for Thursday, December 18, 2003

Educators continue curriculum adjustments

December 18, 2003

The implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act has helped create an all-or-nothing environment in schools today. Under the education bill, the value on student performance is paramount -- loss of funding or accreditation could occur for schools not showing progress.

In short, schools are either producing or not.

To help bridge the gap between teaching in the classroom and student performance on tests, administrators and teachers in the Basehor-Linwood School District met with an educational consultant Friday, Dec. 12.

Meeting with the consultant is a proactive approach by the school district to better student test performance, said Bill Hatfield, Basehor-Linwood School District assistant superintendent.

"It's more of a process than an event," Hatfield said. "It's a good way we can shore up some scores. I personally do believe it will have a positive effect.

"We want to make sure we have a plan in place to increase student performance," he added.

On Friday, the consultant studied the school district's testing and identified areas on the assessment tests for improvement. Each school in the district is in the process of identifying 12 areas for improving student performance on assessment tests.

Some of those areas entail improving skills such as estimation, literacy structure and problem solving and each are common areas of improvement for most schools in the district, Hatfield said.

Another area the consultant covered Friday was helping teachers design lesson plans with standards for assessment tests built into the plans, the assistant superintendent said.

"Basically, how we should tie in lesson plans to Kansas standards," Hatfield said.

A frequent criticism of No Child Left Behind is that it forces educators to teach to the test and not the students. In Basehor-Linwood, educators are taking a different philosophy to accommodate testing requirements and student learning.

"We're going to teach to the standards," Hatfield said. "Do the standards make up the tests? Yes."

It's an attitude of no-fear instruction. Teaching students the fundamentals of subjects will foster not only positive testing results but also improved student learning, Hatfield said.

The school district has placed revitalizing the curriculum in core subjects at the forefront of its instructional agenda in recent years. The district revised the science curriculum last year, math curriculum this year and next year, educators will study the language arts curriculum for revision.

The Basehor-Linwood School Board is expected to review and possibly approve revisions to the math curriculum in January.

Students will take Kansas state assessment tests in March and April. Students in the fourth, fifth, seventh and 10th grades will take the state assessments.

Students in every grade level, beginning with first grade, will be administered national standardized tests.

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