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Federal Legislation --Frequently Asked Questions

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1. Does the “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) law apply to me?
Only if you are currently employed or will be employed in a "school-wide Title 1" school or if your job position is funded fully or in part by Title 1, then you must comply with the requirements of NCLB

2. Are there any exceptions?
Yes, if you are a paraeducator who works solely as a translator or bilingual aide, or you are a paraeducator with duties that consist solely of conducting parental involvement activities (home-school liaison).

3. My job is funded through special education. Does NCLB apply to me?
No, provided you do not work in a Title I school-wide program.

4. What are the requirements for paraeducators?
Paraeducators employed in Title I federal programs have to meet higher standards. They must complete one of the following three options:

  • Option A:   Complete two years of study at an institution of higher learning
  • Option B:   Earn an associate’s (or higher) degree
  • Option C:   Meet a rigorous standard of quality that demonstrates, through a formal assessment, knowledge of and ability to assist in reading, writing and mathematics instruction (or, as appropriate, reading, writing, and mathematics readiness)

5. How long do I have to complete one of the three required options?
All paraeducators employed with Title I and hired after January 8, 2002 must already meet one of these three standards.

6. Option “A” refers to “... two years of study at an institution of higher learning.” What does “two years of study” mean?
“Two years of study” is the equivalent of two years of full-time study. In Utah, this means 12 credit hours per semester (2 semesters per year) for a total of 48 credit hours.

7. Option “A” also refers to “... an institution of higher learning.” What is an institution of higher learning?
An “institution of higher learning” is an educational institution that:

  • admits only persons who have graduated from high school
  • awards a bachelor’s degree
  • is a public or non-profit institution
  • is fully accredited
  • is legally authorized by the State to provide a program of education beyond secondary education.

8. I have a 2 year associates degree in retail management. Does my degree meet the requirement as stated in option “B: Earn an associate’s degree”?
Yes, an associate degree is an associate degree - but it cannot be from a technical college. The associate degree must be from a “community college or university”.

9. In Option “C”, what does a “rigorous standard of quality ... through a formal assessment” mean?
The State of Utah requires paraeducators to pass the following test:

  • “ParaPro Assessment” -- developed by Educational Testing Services (ETS)

10. What resources are available to help me prepare to take the ParaPro?
An excellent resource for the ParaPro Assessment is to visit the ETS (Educational Testing Services) website. In short, the ParaPro consists of 90 multiple choice questions. The test takes approximately 2 ½ hours to complete. To learn more and view a sample of the ParaPro Assessment, visit www.ets.org .

Also, be sure to contact your district office to see what resources they may have acquired to assist you.

11. Where and when will the tests be offered?
The ParaPro is offered "on-line" at: www.ets.org

Go to the website and register for the test. A tutorial is available with sample questions in reading, math & writing. Carefully review prior to taking the exam.

12. How much does it cost to take the two tests? Will I have to pay for it?
The ParaPro Assessment costs $40.00. Each school district will determine how the costs will be covered. Some districts will pay for you to take the test - while some districts will ask you to cover the cost.

13. If I fail to get a passing score can I take the same test again?
Yes, you can re-take either test. However, you will need to pay the cost again and there may be a waiting period before you can re-take the test.

14. What are “passing scores” on each test?
A passing score for the ParaPro is 460

15. Because Title I paraeducators in Utah will be better qualified and trained, shouldn’t we get a wage increase?
That’s a fair question and a valid argument for salary adjustments. Unfortunately, NCLB does not stipulate that paraeducators who meet higher standards will also receive higher wages. Whether you will receive higher wages is primarily a district decision. But remember, nearly every state in the nation is experiencing budget shortfalls. Utah is no exception. So, will Utah paraeducators receive salary increases? Time will tell.