Schools seek OK for ‘practice tests’
Within the next several weeks, school districts across Kansas are expected to receive word from state education officials as to whether early warning assessments, essentially practice tests, can be administered to students in preparation for assessment tests required by the federal education law, the No Child Left Behind Act.
Bill Hatfield, Basehor-Linwood School District assistant superintendent, said the state's goal is to persuade federal officials to allow the early warning assessments as a way to prepare students for the all-important No Child Left Behind assessments, results from which are used in determining a school's compliance in meeting requirements under the federal education law.
"It's supposed to be a way to give a teacher some descriptive information," Hatfield said, adding that, if the prep assessments are allowed, both students and teachers could identify and address weaknesses before the NCLB assessments are administered. The early warning assessments would be comparable to a high school student taking SAT or ACT prep tests before the actual examine, he said.
Whether the early warning tests are approved or not, administrators and educators in Basehor-Linwood don't appear to need much help in meeting progress goals mandated by No Child Left Behind. All schools in the district met adequate yearly progress goals and most students tested reached levels of proficiency by wide margins.
The school district earned particularly high marks at the elementary level: all the district's elementary schools -- Basehor, Glenwood Ridge and Linwood elementaries -- achieved state standards of excellence in reading. Basehor and Glenwood Ridge elementary schools also received state excellence marks in math, while Linwood narrowly missed the cut-off.
Although school officials said they were proud of the district's performance on the state assessments, there won't be much time to relax -- the next batch of state assessments are scheduled to begin in February and run into April.