Through No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), its true that educators have become more efficient in their methods towards educating learners. Since the introduction of NCLB in 2002, the education system of the United States has changed significantly (Hush, 2016). Students have become more competitive in these learning institutions, and the educators have played a part in this competitiveness. NCLB law was introduced in an attempt to change the education system of the United States which was not producing competent students at this period. The academic improvement of students in this country has been encouraging since 2002 after educators adopted the guidelines dictated by NCLB (Hush, 2016).
In the year 2015, NCLB was replaced by ESSA to bring about improvement in all students including those with disabilities in the United States of America (Hush, 2016). ESSA has enabled educators to offer comparable services to most of the students in this nation. This has ensured that students with disabilities have not been discriminated regarding education services being provided. After President Obama signed this act in 2015, elementary schools have been able to match other learning institutions in America (Hush, 2016). Educators continue to ensure that all students perform well in their institutions and this has been noted in several areas.
One of the sectors that continue to prove that educators have contributed positively to the performance of students is through the graduation rates. In the United States, statistics show that the number of students graduating from different learning institutions continues to rise annually. The other notable area proving that ESSA has made educators more effective is the number of drop outs especially in high schools (Hush, 2016). This figure continues to decline, and the reason is believed to be the adoption of this act by teachers in the United States of America.
State accountability tests are currently being used to determine a students understanding of different content. I agree with the fact that these tests have been successful in assessing the level of understanding among the various students in the United States of America (Silberglitt, et al., 2006). Due to their effectiveness, state accountability tests are currently being used to determine the ratings of different learning institutions in America. State accountability testing has been made uniform throughout each state in the United States to make the rating fair to all learning institutions. With these tests, educators have been able to determine the areas they are required to stress on when they are teaching. This is because the tests are effective in showing the strengths and weaknesses of a student.
State accountability tests are also enhancing educators to know the specific areas to focus on when they are dealing with the curriculum. Together with the act of NCLB, this test has helped teachers to determine how they should grade their students (Silberglitt, et al., 2006). Through this grading, students continue to understand the content that they are being taught in the modern learning institutions. Comparison of different state test scores has introduced competition among students of the same learning institutions. These scores act as a sign of each students accountability, and this fact has made students more determined in their studies (Silberglitt, et al., 2006). It can, therefore, be concluded that state accountability tests have played a significant role in showing each students understanding of the material being tested.
The Role of Teachers
I agree with the statement concerning the role of teachers in using their skill of analyzing assessment results to improve their method of teaching. One of the methods through which teachers can enhance their way of instruction in their institutions is by comparing the results of their students with those of other learning institutions (Guskey, 2010). The comparison can also be made between students of the same school since this can also be an indicator of whether the methods being used to educate are useful among all students. Comparison between classroom, division or state assessments makes the educators different ways of providing instructions to their students (Guskey, 2010).
Analyzing assessments enables teachers to know whether students should receive second chances on a particular section of the curriculum. Stressing on such a section is a way that can help teachers improve their method of teaching. By analyzing such assessments, teachers develop a better understanding of their students in such a way that they can differentiate slow learners from the rest of the students (Guskey, 2010). This information is responsible for enabling educators to improve on how they provide instructions to their students. Educators are therefore encouraged to make use of different quizzes as well as different tests that cover all areas that they feel should be tested. Analysis of these assessments makes educators more competent in their profession, and its one of the steps that are being encouraged by ESSA (Guskey, 2010).
I disagree with the statement that in the year 2020, all teachers will be able to control the performance of all students as demonstrated by the current situation of learners. Though many improvements have been made on the performance of students, its difficult to assume that in the near future, the performance of all students will be almost identical and that teachers will be able to control them as required regarding learning (Rist, 2010). Several factors continue to arise that affects the performance of these students and at the moment, concluding that these factors will not be affecting them in the near future is incorrect (Rist, 2010). An example of such factors is technological improvements, effects of drug abuse and peer pressure.
Research continues to show that some of the mentioned factors continue to affect the performance of students in such a way that educators will always find problems in their attempt to make all students perform well in their studies (Rist, 2010). Though drug cases have reduced, they are still existent, and there is no guarantee that in the near future, learning institutions will not be recording these cases (Rist, 2010). With continued improvement in social media, students continue to be distracted in their studies, and there is a possibility that their performance will be affected by technological advancements in the future. Therefore, its reasonable to argue that educators will continue to have difficulties in their attempts to teach and reach all students by the year 2020.
Recommendations to how Students should be Instructed and Assessed
Though ESSA act has introduced several methods of teaching and testing students, there are a few recommendations that can be introduced in learning institutions. Some of these recommendations are mentioned below;
Individual guidance of students- dealing with each student personally is an instruction and assessment method that can improve the understanding of slow learners (Facione, 2004). Though this recommendation already exists in most learning institutions, introducing new strategies such as observation of the progress that these students make can help them improve their learning (Facione, 2004). Such observations can enable educators to understand the conditions which can make the students understand at the same level as the other learners.
Changing classroom assessments- these evaluations are believed to test the understanding of all students, and they are therefore always recommended in schools (Facione, 2004). However, some assessments tend to favor students who have a higher level of understanding, and if few students in such a classroom are slow learners, their needs are not catered for (Facione, 2004). Changing these assessments in such a way that all students are represented is a strategy that can enable educators to understand the kinds of students that they have. An example of such a change is where they introduce optional assessments so that the students can have a variety to choose from.
Facione, P. (2004). Critical thinking: A statement of expert consensus for purposes of educational assessment and instruction (The Delphi Report).
Guskey, T. R. (2010). How classroom assessments improve learning.
Hursh, D. (2016). Assessing No Child Left Behind and the rise of neoliberal education policies. American educational research journal, 44(3), 493-518.
Rist, R. (2010). Student social class and teacher expectations: The self-fulfilling prophecy in ghetto education. Harvard educational review, 40(3), 411-451.
Silberglitt, B., Burns, M. K., Madyun, N. I. H., & Lail, K. E. (2006). Relationship of reading fluency assessment data with state accountability test scores: A longitudinal comparison of grade levels. Psychology in the Schools, 43(5), 527-535.
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