Neag prepares students for changing education standards
Published: Friday, January 25, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 25, 2013 00:01
Since Connecticut recently won an exemption waiver from the “No Child Left Behind Act,” the Neag School of Education is teaching future educators how to prepare for different assessments in classrooms.
“We are preparing our candidates in our teacher education program to embrace the new common core standards so they can have a curriculum and a pedagogy that measures those standards,” said Mary Yakimowski, Neag director of assessment. “The curriculum and the assessment go hand in hand. The content, which is the curriculum, has to be taught by the teacher and then it’s going to be assessed. Then, based on the assessment, we can see where there needs to be further improvements.”
The “No Child Left Behind Act,” signed into effect by President George W. Bush in 2002, required states to test students in grades three to eight annually in the subjects of reading and mathematics, according to the Education Week website. The act also required states to bring all students up to proficient levels in these subjects by the 2013-2014 school year. Under the act, all teachers have to be highly qualified in every subject that they teach.
“No Child Left Behind” has a premise to have better prepared teachers and we wanted our candidate to be the best prepared, and sometimes that actually means two degrees,” Yakimowski said. “That was a focus that the Neag School of Education and CLAS worked together to pass. It was approved by the board of trustees and the senate that allowed for students to, for example, get a degree in mathematics and education.”
In total, 34 states and the District of Columbia have received waivers exempting them from the “No Child Left Behind Act,” according to NBC News. These states use different methods of assessment, which results in differences in the curriculum.
“Across the nation, we now have two consortiums,” Yakimowski said. “We belong to one consortium called the Smarter Balanced Assessment system. This assessment will be tied to the core standards of English language arts and mathematics.”
Yakimowski said that Neag is constantly striving to improve its program, regardless of whether or not the “No Child Left Behind Act” is in effect.
“No Child Left Behind” didn’t impact our program, but we always look at our program to identify areas of strength and areas of improvement,” Yakimowski said. “Even without NCLB we would be doing the same thing. We prepare our alumni to go out and effectively teach our students in our K12 schools.”