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No Child Left Behind: VA Tests Not Good Enough?

Ohanian Comment: Truth in Disclosure: When I first started teaching corrective reading to 7th and 8th graders, I tried out the materials I found in the cupboard. Some of them were little booklets filled with nasty little passages followed by nasty little multiple choice questions. One of the questions was invariably: Choose the main idea of this passage. Or Choose the best title for this passage. After a while, I could figure out what the test writer wanted as the main idea, but choosing the best title was always problematic--even for me. Think about children who are just beginning to learn English. And how are they supposed to handle poetry interpretation--at their chronological grade level?

The U. S. Department of Education despots just may be in hot water here. This is something the public can understand.

by Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - NO progress.

That's the word from state and federal education officials who met to discuss tests for students with limited English skills under the No Child Left Behind law.

Federal officials called the end-of-the-week meeting with several school systems that are on the verge of defying an order to give grade-level reading tests to certain students who are just beginning to learn English.

Local school officials say the federal directive will only set up students for failure.

School systems face the possible loss of federal funds if they don't give the tests.

The dispute centers on about 10,200 students statewide who are beginning to learn English.

Last summer, federal officials rejected the test Virginia had given to those children because it doesn't cover grade-level reading skills, such as understanding poetry or identifying the main idea of a passage.

The Virginia test instead measures how well students are learning to read, speak and write English.

— Associated Press
WTVR television


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