Intervention, Tests Suggested to Stop Inflation of Titles

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The National Center for Educational Accountability said that there are no easy solutions to course-label inflation but that the best remedies focus on these eight elements:

· Careful alignment of K-12 curriculum to identify course readiness requirements. For example, if the goal is to get students to take and succeed in algebra 2, the sequence of prior skills must be carefully thought through and introduced to the student at the appropriate time.

· Identification of which students are missing prerequisite skills. Teachers need to keep close tabs on each student's skills and share that information with other teachers.

· Extensive use of data and intervention from kindergarten through eighth grade. Students who enter high school with major deficiencies will find it difficult to be ready for college-preparatory courses.

· Intervention with high school students to build prerequisite skills before their enrollment in advanced courses. Some high schools encourage students who need such skills to enroll in summer programs.

· Interventions to affect students' motivation to take advanced courses and succeed in them. Many schools have been able to promote a culture of achievement by giving students letters of recognition, launching social clubs for striving students and organizing Advanced Placement classes as if they were athletic teams.

· Interventions with students while they are taking the course. Some schools use interim exams to identify students who are struggling and assign them to teacher teams that work with them at lunch and before or after school.

· Training to help teachers with intervention strategies. Some schools offer such training. AP and International Baccalaureate institutes also provide training.

· Use of end-of-course exams to monitor whether students have learned the material. Virginia and Maryland have year-end exams in subjects such as algebra 1 that can be used to determine whether students have reached proficiency.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company