Module Summary

Module Overview: This module provides information on the laws, formulas, and structures that control how school performance is assessed in the U.S. education system. It also explains the importance of parental advocacy for their child’s education and advises how School Liaisons and parents can use information on school performance to promote parental engagement in their community.

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Key Points:

  • ESEA is one of the core laws influencing school performance measures.
  • The primary goal of the current ESEA is to close achievement gaps between disadvantaged groups of students and their peers and to ensure that 100 percent of students are proficient on state assessments in reading/language arts and math by 2013–14.
  • State progress toward meeting the primary goal of ESEA is assessed by state testing of students in grades 3–8 and once in high school in reading/language arts and math and by the setting of annual targets to move toward 100 percent proficiency. Schools that attain the targets meet “adequate yearly progress” (AYP).
  • Schools that receive Title I funding for having a high low-income student population are subject to sanctions and interventions if they do not meet AYP. States are required to measure AYP for all schools, but only Title I schools are subject to sanctions and corrective actions.
  • ESEA set requirements that all states must follow in determining whether schools meet AYP; however, states are provided flexibility to, among other things, develop content standards and assessments that are then reviewed by the U.S. Department of Education for alignment and to ensure that they produce valid and reliable results.
  • A school meets AYP when all four student subgroups and the school overall meet the annual state target on the reading/language arts and math tests, at least 95 percent of students participate in each test and the school has met other academic indicators.
  • Additional measures of student performance have been developed by many states including individual state accountability systems, norm-referenced tests, and “growth models” for Title I accountability determinations.
  • The Common Core State Standards are intended to set expectations for students in each grade level that would lead to college and career readiness by the end of high school.
  • In support of one of its main goals to give families information about their child’s education, ESEA requires that public schools publicize data about student achievement and standards.
  • Families can be overwhelmed and confused by the amount of information that is available about school performance.
  • School districts are required to provide information on student performance at the district and school level in the form of publically available report cards that include assessment results for all students in core subjects and key demographics.
  • Parents can serve as effective advocates for their children by choosing a school that is appropriate, advocating on behalf of their children for improved performance by a school, and providing their children with resources and support to improve academic performance.
  • Research has shown that families have a major influence on their children’s achievement in school and that students with involved families are more successful at school.
  • School Liaisons play a key role in helping families be knowledgeable about how to advocate for their children’s education and should direct families to local Parent Information and Resource Centers (PIRC) to obtain additional support and information about school performance and accountability.
  • While School Liaisons must provide families and installation commanders with important information about school performance, they are not to advise families where to enroll their children in school.

Looking Forward: Next, learn about ways that School Liaisons can support the success of military-connected students.

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