Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, speaking at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) conference in Washington, D.C., indicated that she might consider a "growth model" of assessment--a system of measuring individual students' academic improvement as they advance from grade to grade--that could allow states to change how they rate student progress.

Reaching out to the AFT audience during a "conversation" with AFT President Edward J. McElroy, in which she answered pre-determined questions, Spellings appeared receptive to teachers' concerns and indicated that she shared many of the AFT members' goals.

"A school

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