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Iowa Assessments help district identify students in need of assistance

Former President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 into law in an effort to improve educational outcomes nationwide. As the legislation established measurable academic goals for students to meet, public school districts and institutions in Iowa are required to report their academic progress for third- through eighth-graders, as well as eleventh-graders, according to the state's Department of Education.

If any schools fail to meet their Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) or Annual Measurable Objectives for two years in a row, they will become schools in need of assistance. Unfortunately, this is the case with Iowa's Shenandoah Community School District, which has been placed on a watch list due to its failure to meet established AYP requirements, KMAland reported.

The District's new classification is directly related to students' performance on the Iowa Assessments, which replaced the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS). At the elementary level, Shenandoah was placed on the watch list for mathematics. The same was true of the District's middle school, which was also singled out for students' inability to meet AYP for reading. However, some District officials feel this status is necessary, as it shows them where they need to improve.

"In our case, it makes us more aware, and we're able to dig in and analyze just what areas that we need improvement on, and the kids need to work on," Jeff Hiser, the District's superintendent, told the news source. "We can set our goals for the individual areas and target those areas."