- Few Southeast students face suspension, expulsion for sexual assaults, campus paper finds (4/25/17)5
- Perryville family organizing bone-marrow drive Friday for ailing 6-year-old boy (4/26/17)
- Woman battered after smashing boyfriend's meth pipe against wall, police say (4/25/17)1
- Pilot House goes smoke-free (4/23/17)10
- Temptations bassist dies after Cape Girardeau show (4/26/17)2
- Event includes the first public tour of 200-year-old Elmwood Manor (4/23/17)3
- BBB warns Jackson man's online business might not be legit (4/24/17)
- Cape couple turns their home into cozy, comfortable music venue (4/24/17)
- Cape councilman Bob Fox to run for mayor (4/21/17)5
- Sikeston man charged in shooting death of Cape man (4/23/17)
Accountability in the nation's public schools has become a major industry. Tracking students' progress in key learning areas is supposed to give educators, parents and the government an indication of how well schools are performing.
Of course, states are permitted to set their own standards, so a state with relaxed standards may show, through testing, that it is doing a better job than a state with tougher standards. Missouri is generally regarded as a "tougher standards" state.
One of the main ways of measuring school performance in Missouri is the Missouri Achievement Program tests. A new guideline from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education requires that disabled students who have had MAP tests read to them in the past to read the tests themselves unless they are visually impaired and oral reading is their primary means of learning.
The problem is that the new guideline looks like a one-size-fits-all solution to a thorny problem best evaluated by those who know disabled students best: their teachers. Common sense would suggest that teachers are best able to determine if and when a student needs special assistance in taking a test.
MAP tests are part of the federal No Child Left Behind effort to upgrade public education. At the federal level, the expectation is that every child in a public school will be proficient in every area covered by the federal law.
Is that realistic? Educators have varying views. The requirement regarding disabled students is another area where educators are bound to have mixed feelings.