By Jose Castaneda, Lorrie Marino, Stephanie Panchig, Teresa Robles and Maggie Sebastian
We found that the major complaints with the previous education policy, NCLB (No Child Left Behind) Act, were the emphasis on standardized testing as a way to assess each student’s academic performance, as well the overall assessment of each school within a district. Currently, ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) requires the same testing for all students, except for those with major impairment in cognition. ESSA will be implemented at the beginning of the 2017–2018 school year.
We discovered that one of the anticipated problems of ESSA is the lack of testing accommodations for students with disabilities. We feel that it is imperative to provide students with disabilities the opportunity to be tested while taking into consideration the accommodations that each student qualifies for. The services that are underlined in each student’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan) need to be implemented for the student to perform at their highest level that he/she is capable of. We suggest training the teachers so that they can identify students with learning and attention difficulties as early as possible. Many students fall through the cracks, and are often promoted to the next educational level without mastering the skills needed for advancement.
Second, we propose that the change be made in the testing requirements in high school by testing once at the beginning of ninth grade, and then again in the eleventh grade as a way of tracking educational success or progress rather than just looking at scores.
We would like to see all students perform at the best of their ability, which would reflect higher scores overall. Distribution of resources and experienced teachers and increase in support in high-poverty/low-performing schools will offer this population more equitable educational opportunities.