The U.S. Department of Education has approved Iowa’s plan for complying with the federal “No Child Left Behind” law. Dr. Susan Sclafani, counselor to the U-S Education Secretary, was in Des Moines this afternoon to make the formal announcement.Iowa is the 32nd state to be approved, but Sclafani says Iowa’s plan is unique because schools which have already met average achievement goals.will not be allowed to coast, but will be required to continue posting higher scores. Iowa will be allowed to continue to use the tests which have been used for decades to measure student performance. Iowa Department of Education director Ted Stilwell admits there will be few changes in school proceedures in Iowa as a result of the new plan. The changes are not at a “high-profile level” according to Stilwell. He says it was crucial to get the feds to let Iowa continue to use the Iowa Tests of Education Development and the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills to judge student achievement. Stilwell says those tests have been around for 50 years in Iowa, and they’ve set “benchmarks” that help judge whether schools, teachers and students are succeeding.
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