Archive for Thursday, March 4, 2004

Law places skilled teachers at the forefront of quality education

March 4, 2004

The determining factor to providing a quality education is ensuring highly skilled teachers are leading the classroom, according to the No Child Left Behind Act.

The No Child Left Behind Act is a federal education law placing student achievement on assessment tests as a gauge for student learning. This week is the second week students in the Basehor-Linwood School District have taken state assessment tests.

Perhaps the biggest adjustment caused by the new bill has been placed at the feet of teachers, the all-important factor according to the No Child Left Behind Act.

No longer are good grades for course work enough. Now, all students must perform well on the assessment tests.

"Instruction-wise I'd say the biggest challenge is now things are based on numbers or data as opposed to grades," said Bill Hatfield, assistant superintendent.

If students do not meet progress standards required by the education law, penalties could be imposed on the school and the entire district.

To prepare students for the critical assessment tests, teachers in Basehor-Linwood have crafted day-to-day lesson plans to align with material covered on the tests. Also, they're now teaching proven test-taking procedures and administering practice tests.

Hatfield said the district's teachers have responded well to the new requirements thus far and would become more comfortable with No Child Left Behind as time goes on.

"We're always going to have that pressure for our students to perform up to snuff but I think overall we've adjusted well as a group," he said. "Being uncomfortable will fade when we become more knowledgeable about what we're dealing with."

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