Many ND Schools in Program Improvement - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Many ND Schools in Program Improvement

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Public schools in North Dakota have a lot to be proud of as we consistently rank among the highest in the nation for our test scores...

but when it comes to the No Child Left Behind Act, teachers are disheartened to find their schools on a list for improvement.

The No Child Left Behind Act provides assistance to school districts to help with the academic achievement of students.

This year, 165 schools are identified as needing improvement and when this happens, certain sanctions kick in.

Over the years, the requirement has increased for the number of students needing to be proficient...starting at 40 percent to now 100 percent of students.

Federal Title Programs Director Laurie Matzke says many argue its great goal but not realistic and ends up being a burden for schools.

"Is there room for improvement? Of course, there always is. But we have great schools, great teachers, great leaders - educational leaders in North Dakota and so that's why we want this law reauthorized because we think it's unfairly identifying schools for improvement when we feel that they're doing a really good job," says Laurie Matzke, Federal Title Programs Director, DPI.

Superintendent Tamara Uselman agrees...and Bismarck Public Schools prove this in their MAP test scores.

MAP stands for Measures of Academic Progress.

Students met and exceeded the expected fall-to-spring growth.

"The MAP testing is a lot like a physical and then you find out where you're healthy and where you're not healthy. Let's say you're not healthy in blood pressure so you really work hard to get your blood pressure under control. That's MAP testing. The No Child Left Behind testing is autopsy testing. The year is over. The thing is done. You can make no changes and you take a look back to see what happened, but it doesn't help a student grow in skill," says Tamara Uselman, Superintendent, BPS.

Matzke says until the program is reauthorized they're trying to streamline the process and make this as do-able for the schools as possible.

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