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Educator Effectiveness

Update Regarding Title I Instructional Paraprofessionals in Meeting the NCLB Requirements

To:Superintendents and Charter School Leaders
From:David Haselkorn, Associate Commissioner, Educator Policy, Preparation & Leadership

As a reminder, Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requires that Title I instructional paraprofessionals meet specific standards of qualification in ensuring that students who need the most help receive instructional support only from qualified paraprofessionals. Qualification requirements must be met as a condition of employment for instructional paraprofessionals hired after January 8, 2002 (those hired before January 8, 2002 had until January 8, 2006 to meet the requirements). For school-wide programs, the requirements apply to all paraprofessionals carrying out instructional duties, without regard to how their position is funded; for targeted assistance programs, the requirements apply to any instructional paraprofessional who is paid with Title I funds. Title I translators (who are proficient in English and another language), and individuals working on parental involvement activities do not need to meet the requirements. The minimum qualification requirements1 are, as follows:
  • A high school diploma or equivalent; and
  • An Associate's (or higher) degree; or
  • Completion of 48 credit hours at an Institution of Higher Education; or
  • Completion of one of the formal Massachusetts-endorsed Assessments: Parapro or WorkKeys
Note: Title I paraprofessionals must also work under the direct supervision of a teacher. These requirements are listed in the July 2003 advisory the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released, entitled, Massachusetts Policies for Paraprofessionals in Title I Programs . Among other things, this document provides information on the two assessements, - the ParaPro, developed by ETS, and the WorkKeys Proficiency Certificate for Teacher Assistants, developed by ACT - the Department has selected as the formal state-endorsed assessments for instructional paraprofessionals in Title I programs. Both of these assessments are appropriate for both prospective and incumbent paraprofessionals.

ParaPro Assessment

The ParaPro measures skills and knowledge in reading, writing and mathematics, as well as the ability to apply those skills and knowledge to assist in classroom instruction. A scaled score of 464 must be achieved in order to meet the requirements of NCLB. ETS will report a single score for the ParaPro and will not give a score for each sub-category. Therefore, banking of subscores will not be possible. There will be, however, some information to the candidate on the score report as to his/her performance on each subcategory. Massachusetts school districts and charter schools may enroll as an internet-based ParaPro testing site thereby allowing paraprofessionals to take the assessment in a computer lab designated by the district/school. Information for school districts and charter schools that are interested in becoming testing sites can be found at: ParaPro Assessment Application. General questions regarding the ParaPro can be sent to You can also visit the ParaPro website, located at: ParaPro Assessment.

WorkKeys Assessment

The WorkKeys Proficiency Certificate for Teacher Assistants consists of Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics, and Business Writing assessments and the Instructional Support Inventory (ISI). In order to meet the requirements of NCLB, paraprofessionals must achieve at the following skill levels on all three sections of the ACT Work Keys Certificate of Proficiency for Teaching Assistants: Reading for Information: Skill Level 5
Applied Mathematics: Skill Level 4
Business Writing: Skill Level 3
Writing (only used in lieu of Business Writing if districts request paper/pencil testing): Skill Level 4
The five participating community colleges in Massachusetts (Holyoke, Middlesex, Bunker Hill, Bristol, and Springfield Technical) will administer the three assessment tests included in the WorkKeys Certificate. The assessments can also be administered at a location identified by school districts and are available either on computer or in paper/pencil versions. The ISI component, an observation-based tool that is used to assess teaching skills, will be administered by the teaching assistant's supervisor using the guidelines provided by ACT. General information about ACT and WorkKeys can be found at ACT WorkKeys. For additional information about test dates, locations and testing procedures, please contact one of the testing sites below: Holyoke Community College
Keith Hensley, CWDP
The Center for Business & Professional Development
303 Homestead Ave.
Holyoke, MA 01040
(413)552-2506 Springfield Technical Community College
Paula Goodreau
Center for Business & Technology
One Armory Square
Springfield, MA 01105
(413)755-4503 Bunker Hill Community College
Les Warren
Workforce Development
250 New Rutherford Ave.
Boston, MA 02129
(617)228-2416 line 1Note: Massachusetts public school districts may also choose to require their paraprofessionals to meet additional requirements.

Last Updated: December 16, 2010

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

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