Utah will petition the U.S. Department of Education to let it use U-PASS to double for No Child Left Behind reports again.
The State Board of Education gave the nod to do so Thursday.
U-PASS is the state's way of holding schools accountable for student achievement. It includes the same tests required for No Child Left Behind, and even more of them, but does not let a whole school fail if a single group of kids falls short. It also uses a formula to give credit to schools for students who have come a long way academically, even if they're still not considered to be reading or doing math on grade level.
The U.S. Department of Education in recent weeks said it would accept applications to create such "growth models."
But the department also already has refused to accept U-PASS for a growth-model pilot program, because it did not individually hold schools accountable for the achievement of each student group. Those groups include students of different ethnicities, those with disabilities, low-income students and those with limited English proficiency. That student-group accountability is the centerpiece of No Child Left Behind.
Board member Teresa Theurer said U-PASS is still worth a shot.
"I believe U-PASS is much better information for helping students learn ... because as a school, you can take from U-PASS where you need to work and what you need to do but also celebrate the good you're doing."