COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

 

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 56

April 4, 2003

 

INFORMATIONAL

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

State Qualifying Score for the ParaPro Assessment for Instructional Paraprofessionals Supported by Title I, Part A, Funds

 

The No Child Left Behind Act addresses the preparation of paraprofessionals. The federal law stipulates that instructional paraprofessionals working in a program supported with funds under Title I, Part A, must meet one of the following three requirements to be considered highly qualified:

 

(1)         complete at least two years of study at an institution of higher education; or

(2)         obtain an associate (or higher) degree; or

(3)         have met a rigorous standard of quality and can

demonstrate, through a local or formal state academic assessment, knowledge of and the ability to assist in instructing reading, writing, and mathematics (or, as appropriate, reading readiness, writing readiness, and mathematics readiness)

 

Paraprofessionals with instructional duties hired before January 8, 2002, and working in a program supported with funds under Title I, Part A, must become highly qualified by January 8, 2006. All paraprofessionals with instructional duties hired after the date of enactment (January 8, 2002) of the No Child Left Behind legislation and working in a program supported with funds under

Title I, Part A, must have met the federal definition of a "highly qualified" paraprofessional.

 

During the March 26, 2003, meeting, the Board of Education approved the ParaPro Assessment as the formal state academic assessment, and approved an initial Virginia qualifying score of 455. A standard-setting study was completed for the ParaPro assessment, and paraprofessionals across the state participated in the study.

 

The Educational Testing Service designed the ParaPro Assessment to measure paraprofessionals knowledge of reading, writing, and mathematics, and their ability to apply that knowledge to assist in reading, writing, and mathematics instruction. The two and one-half-hour test consists of 90 multiple-choice questions in reading, mathematics, and writing. Approximately two-thirds of the questions in each subject area focus on basic skills and knowledge, and approximately one-third of the questions in each subject area focus on the application of those skills and knowledge in a classroom context. The test questions are arranged by subject area, with reading first, then mathematics, and then writing. The fee for the ParaPro assessment is $40. You may access additional information about the ParaPro assessment, including purchasing the ParaPro Assessment Study Guide, at the following website: http://www.ets.org/parapro/.

 

Unless notified to the contrary, detailed information regarding the procedures for school divisions to offer the ParaPro Internet-based assessment locally will be disseminated to directors of human resources offices and licensure contacts within a week following receipt of this memorandum. Please do not hesitate to contact

Dr. Thomas A. Elliott, assistant superintendent for teacher education and licensure, (telliott@pen.k12.va.us) or Mrs. Patty Pitts, director of professional licensure, ppitts@pen.k12.va.us) at (804) 371-2522 if you have any questions.

 

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