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Data Access Helps Teachers Plan

By providing teachers and staff members in the Joint School District # 2, in Meridian, Idaho, access to easily understandable data about students, teachers can tailor their lessons to meet the needs of different ability levels. Included: Information about how data can improve lessons.

Professional development efforts in Joint School District # 2, in Meridian, Idaho, are focused on improving student achievement, continuing a trend that began before the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. By providing extensive teacher and principal training, changing staff perceptions of teaching and learning, using research-based materials, differentiating and accelerating instruction, and focusing on individual children from kindergarten through grade 12, the district intends to show that a total district effort pays off in higher student achievement. The 2002 state testing showed that schools in academic decline can be turned around, and poor and disadvantaged children can reach high expectations if clear goals are set as priorities and if the barriers to reaching them are removed.

Because none of the Title I schools in Meridian is a school-wide project, the NCLB regulations in the first year affected only the teachers funded with Title I, and they all meet the state requirements. However, district staff is aware that all teachers in the district must become highly qualified according to NCLB criteria by 2006, and the district plans to provide whatever professional development is needed.

Share Your NCLB Strategies

Education World's Working With NCLB feature highlights schools or districts with stories to share about how they are implementing requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. If you have a Working With NCLB story to share, send an e-mail toEllen Delisio.


One of the keys to Meridian's reform efforts is arranging for the collection of extensive data related to student performance and then making that data understandable and usable for principals and classroom teachers. It sounds easy to do, but there are many pieces to this long-range train of records, information, statistics, and research. Now that the pieces are all in place, the data are available for everyone at all grade levels

A fifth grade teacher in a Meridian school in the fall of 2003, for example, received a class list as is normally done in schools, but this teacher can also access a data warehouse system that shows how each child in the class performed in previous years. The teacher knows the specific areas of that student's strengths and weaknesses. All students are tested in the opening days of school and within 24 hours, the teacher has those results as well.

A complete profile of the class is available, so that the teacher can focus on the standards and on skills connected to those standards that have not yet been mastered. Teachers do not have to waste valuable teaching time on skills and content that students already have mastered. They are able to create a blueprint for each of the least able students, and they also have the tools they need to challenge the most advanced students in the class. All this is on the desktop computer data management system that is connected to the district student information system. The system works the same for teachers of middle and high school because math, reading, and language data are available. Science and end-of -course assessment data soon will be added.

SOURCE: Center on Education Policy

To read the full report, see A Look Inside 33 School Districts: Year 2 of the No Child Left Behind Act.