Tuesday, May 19, 2009

NCLB and Assessment

There are eight very important concepts that teachers should realize effect their students learning very easily. The eight concepts are No Child Left Behind (NCLB), alternative assessment, traditional assessment, norm-referenced measurements, criterion-referenced measurements, IDEA, universal design, and standards-based educational reform. Some of these concepts can be very helpful to student learning, while others may hinder their learning.

One of the most important concepts I believe is NCLB. Many people do not fully understand NCLB in the health and physical education profession because it may not be directly related. It specifically targets reading, math and science, so many specialty teachers do not realize that it is also effecting their time. Goals are set up by the schools to achieve high student achievement, as well as testing that is completed at the end of each year for grades 3-8. If so much time is spent on meeting these goals, the students will not be allowed as much time in the elective classes, such as health, physical education, music and art. All over the country we are seeing music and art being removed from schools and physical education time being decreased. If NCLB were abolished, schools could still make goals for themselves and attempt to achieve these goals, but not be held so accountable that other activities need to be taken away. Many people argue that if NCLB were abolished, then school achievement would decrease, but it is possible that it would increase because students are allowed to learn other topics.

Another concept that I find to be extremely important is alternative assessment. I find that traditional assessment fall directly in line with NCLB and standards-based educational reform. Traditional assessments have students take quizzes, exams and do worksheets for homework. They do not allow a student to express themselves in other ways that may help a different learning other than linguistic succeed. Traditional assessments are easy to grade and funnel student learning into one spectrum, which is necessary for NCLB to work to hold schools accountable. Using alternative assessments would allow students to express themselves through music, essays, demonstrations, and more. This widens the spectrum because students are answering the way they feel is best and are teaching other topics related to the one introduced, which increases learning. While this may be more difficult to grade on the NCLB standards, it would be a change that could help increase student achievement.

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