Tracking the Academic Progress of Students in Military Families


An article in the May 11, 2011 edition of Education Week reported that recent increased attention to military families may require enhancements in the ability to track the academic progress of students in military families who are enrolled in public schools.  The article cites a March 2011 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) that recommended that the U.S. Secretary of Education, in collaboration with U.S. Secretary of Defense, determine whether to require school districts to identify military students as a distinct subgroup for reporting on their academic outcomes, such as test scores and high school graduation rates, in the same way that outcomes are tracked for other student subgroups including economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities.  According to the GAO report, the majority of the 1.1 million military students attend public schools, and the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Impact Aid grant program provides over $1 billion annually to assist school districts to support these students, with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) providing additional Impact Aid funding.  The GAO found that very few school districts receiving Impact Aid grants tracked how the grants were spent to support military students and none of the school districts tracked the academic progress of military students as a group.  The Education Week article stated that creating a military student subgroup “would allow educators to identify where military students have the most academic problems and why, and target services for them.”  According to the article, a spokeswoman for the American Association of School Administrators expressed concern that establishing such a subgroup would expand the opportunities for schools near military bases to fail standards under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).  The article states, however, that data on military students would be reported publicly but would not be used to calculate adequate yearly progress under NCLB.

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Categories:Education | NCLB/ESEA | News


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