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No Child Left Behind could better serve students with exceptional needs

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Elizabeth Muetz
June 11, 2010

We should work to improve the whole student, not just test scores.


No Child Life Behind was enacted in 2001 as a way to aid our education systems and improve test scores of students. Through my preliminary research and the information gathered from my interviews, I have concluded that, although No Child Left Behind’s standardized tests allowed us to form a “snapshot” of today’s school systems and their progress, there are many gaps in the testing system that could be filled or, at least, shrunk with the use of varied testing.


This is especially true of achievement gaps between the “average” student and, for example, English Language Learners (ELL) and students with learning disabilities. If school systems used multiple types of tests, for example an oral report on a subject as well as a written and multiple-choice test, rather than just using one multiple choice/written test, we would have a broader view of the students’ growth and students with exceptional needs would be more likely to experience success on standardized tests.


As to the measurement of growth itself, I believe that to have an accurate view of a class’ progress we must compare the tested group of students to themselves rather than the class before them.


According to Bonnie Jones, director of the Department of Education, schools need to “understand how they (students) take in information, process it and output information.”


This way, we truly get an accurate measurement of a class’ growth and not just a “snapshot” of education.


It is my opinion that to gain an accurate measure of our students’ growth, our education system should have differentiated testing as part of the standardized test.


Elizabeth Muetz wrote this as part of Washington Seminar at Janesville Parker High School.

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