No Child Left Behind requires paraprofessionals to be highly qualified. (Reference Director’s Memo SI-02-058, May 13, 2002). One way to meet the definition of highly qualified is to demonstrate through formal assessment knowledge of, and the ability to assist in instructing, reading, writing, and mathematics.
The ParaPro Assessment is the formal assessment currently accepted by the Arkansas Department of Education. As other appropriate exams become available, consideration will be given to expanding the list of acceptable assessments.
On March 10, 2003, the State Board of Education approved 457 as the qualifying or cut score for the ParaPro Assessment.
Information regarding the ParaPro Assessment can be found on the following web site www.ets.org/parapro. The site gives test dates, test costs and test sites, as well as other useful information.
The site also provides information on the ParaPro Assessment Study Guide. The guide comes with a targeted review of all the materials on the exam, a full-length practice test and test taking strategies. The guide can be ordered by calling 1-800-537-3161.
The ParaPro Assessment is also available by computer. See the attached directions on how a school district can become a test sight for administration of the computerized version of the assessment.
Paraprofessionals working in early childhood settings can also meet the definition of highly qualified by successfully completing 120 clock hours of formal child care education and the CDA assessment. Individuals earning a CDA prior to January 8, 2002, are considered to have met the requirement.
The U.S. Department of Education has published guidance for paraprofessionals. It can be found at www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/asst.html. Scroll down to "NCLB Policy Guidance and OMB Circulars" and click on it. Click on the first option, "Policy Guidance for Programs Implemented Under the No Child Left Behind." Finally, scroll down and click on "Title I Paraprofessional Draft Non-Regulatory Guidance (Nov. 7, 2002)." There is a Microsoft Word and a PDF format from which to choose.