Feds turn down Alaska's proposal
for flexibility in accountability
July 07, 2008
The U.S. Department of Education has turned down Alaska's proposal
to pilot a school accountability plan under the federal No Child
Left Behind Act. Alaska officials are considering whether to
submit a revised proposal.
The federal agency said last week it had approved six states'
proposals for differentiated accountability and not approved
the proposals of 11 states, including Alaska. But federal officials
said they will accept a new round of state submissions in the
"Our foremost concern is to implement No Child Left Behind
in a way that is most beneficial to our students," said
Alaska Commissioner of Education & Early Development Larry
LeDoux. "We are reviewing the U.S. Department of Education's
feedback and the successful state proposals."
The federal government is allowing up to 10 states to try out
plans that differentiate consequences for struggling schools
based on how far they fall short of targets for student proficiency
and other goals.
Alaska assesses students in language arts and math in grades
3 through 10 to determine whether schools are make adequate yearly
progress toward 100 percent proficiency of assessed students
under No Child Left Behind.
Schools that receive federal Title I (anti-poverty) funds face
consequences for not meeting targets over multiple years. The
goal of differentiated accountability systems is to better match
consequences and resources to the needs of struggling Title I
Alaska proposed to differentiate consequences for Title I schools
that do not make adequate yearly progress (AYP) for academic
reasons from those that do not make AYP because they fall short
in the required student participation rate in assessments or
attendance rates or graduation rates.
Under Alaska's proposal, Title I schools that fall short academically
are assigned a level based on how many years they have missed
AYP targets. Those schools are further differentiated by how
close they are to making academic targets. The range of interventions
is based on the severity of students' needs.
Alaska's plan promotes the use of Response to Instruction/Intervention
in struggling schools. In that model, educators determine each
student's academic needs, apply instructional methods that are
known to be effective, closely monitor all students' progress,
and adjust instruction as needed until each student improves.
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