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NCLB Outrages

Teachers fear schools can't meet new testing standards

The title is misleading. It should read: Why does the fate of the school rest on the shoulders of 20 fourth graders?

Last year, the question of whether tiny Alvord Elementary School would make the grade under the federal No Child Left Behind Act rested on the shoulders of about 20 kids, the school's entire fourth grade.

The test scores of those fourth-graders were compared to the scores of the previous year's fourth-graders to determine whether the school was making "adequate yearly progress."

The fourth-graders came through, said Principal Betsy Ellvinger. But she and other principals of public schools in Santa Fe question whether it's valid to judge a school by the test scores of so few children.

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Ellvinger said she thinks a better way to determine whether her school is doing a good job would be to measure how students progress as they advance from one grade to the next. "We need to look at the kids we've been teaching year after year," she said.

— Barbara Ferry
New Mexican


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