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Big Idea 5: Counting All Students in School Achievement
Parents are often surprised when they find out that the statewide assessments used to measure the academic progress of all students are designed to give information about their own school's progress in teaching their child and other groups of children.
The last big idea is counting all students in school achievement. NCLB requires that schools make genuine progress in closing the long-standing achievement gaps between students who are disadvantaged or have disabilities and their classmates. States must show that they are making continuous and substantial improvement and that the accountability system they are using is the same in all their public schools.
In NCLB's accountability provisions, all students count, including all students with disabilities. In many places, schools have been motivated by the inclusion of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities to dramatically improve the instruction that these students receive. The inclusion of these students in school accountability has resulted in new understanding of what all children can achieve when taught well.
It is important for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities to be included in statewide assessments and accountability. The scores of these students make a difference. These students count.
There was always a desire to include all students, but no one
ever thought to use curriculum as a means to obtain full inclusion. Now, with
inclusive accountability and a restructuring of the academic system in special
education, children with the most significant cognitive impairments are contributing
to the education system, and more importantly, they are learning.
— Daniel Wiener, educator