Minn. Education Leaders Present Replacement to "No Child Left Behind" Monitoring

By KBJR News 1

March 22, 2012 Updated Mar 22, 2012 at 9:43 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - A new system, soon to be used to monitor student success in Minnesota, was presented to Duluth Public Schools and residents Thursday .

The new "Multiple Measurement Rating" system replaces "Adequate Yearly Progress", or AYP, standards and goals, now that the state was given a waiver from "No Child Left Behind".

Minnesota education leaders say this system allows teachers to focus on teaching, not on tests.

While testing will not go away, and AYP will still be calculated, the new Multiple Measurement Rating system will also take other factors into account and will shine light on the achievement gap and measure individual student growth.

No Child Left Behind had compared scores of current students, to their counterparts from the year before.

The Multiple Measurement Rating system looks at four main areas: growth, proficiency, achievement gap reduction, and for high schools, graduations rates.

The growth factor recognizes gains of individual students, even if they do not match up to AYP standards.

The proficiency factor looks at what percentage of subgroups made AYP targets, and starting this year, each subgroup will have its own target.

The seven subgroups represent ethnic groups, non-native English speakers, those from families on free or reduced lunch and those with disabilities among other groups, and many subgroups tend to fall in the achievement gap.

The achievement gap reduction factor looks at whether those groups not achieving proficiency are seeing strong growth.

Finally, the graduation rates factor focuses on graduation rates of students in subgroups in high schools.

"It allows us to measure student growth instead of just a single test on a single day and then measuring the entire state on that basis...It's a much more meaningful way to measure our students' success," said Duluth Superintendent Bill Gronseth.

In the end, the four factors used to measure success will be put together to give schools percentage based scores of zero to 100, so parents can more easily compare schools.

Minnesota education spokespeople also said the new plan gives ongoing support to schools that may have been identified as "failing" under No Child Left Behind and helps them to find new strategies moving forward.

The state also put forward a new goal for Minnesota schools it believes is more realistic.

The No Child Left Behind program had had the goal of every student being proficient, making AYP by 2014.

Now, the focus is on cutting the achievement gaps in half for each subgroup in six years.

For example, if a subgroup of Black students is 50 percent proficient, in six years the goal would be to have 75 percent proficiency.

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