- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

SHIPROCK, N.M. (AP) - A school district in northwestern New Mexico has teamed with the Navajo Nation to assess students’ knowledge of Navajo life and history.

The Central Consolidated School District and the tribe’s education department will be giving the Dine Content Standards Assessment exam at five schools later this month as part of the pilot program. Dine (dih-NEH’) is the Navajo word for “the people.”

The four phases of the assessment study will take as long as two years to complete, and it will be administered in all grant and contract schools on the Navajo Nation that spans parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

Senior education specialist Maggie Benally told The Daily Times (https://bit.ly/1w13U8r ) in a story Wednesday that the testing is the first step in making sure the exam fulfills the federal requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Students in fourth, eighth and 12th grades taking Dine courses at schools in Naschitti, Newcomb and Shiprock will participate in the pilot program.

Other participants include the San Juan School District in Utah, and the Many Farms Community School and the Rough Rock Community School in Arizona.

Wynora Bekis, the Central Consolidated School District’s multicultural and bilingual director, said the district was selected because the Navajo education department recognized it has a strong Dine language program.

Students will be tested on their knowledge of the Dine language, culture, history, government and other topics.

“We want to see if the students can express themselves,” Benally said. “We want to see if students are learning the language and make sure that the standard is being taught in the classroom.”

Benally said the assessment will have multiple sections, including an oral portion.

Bekis said the Dine course teachers are getting accustomed to the standards developed by the department, an effort that has been complicated by a lack of specificity in some areas. The district has been working to provide more specifics and align them with CCSD standards, she said.


Information from: The Daily Times, https://www.daily-times.com

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