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Paraprofessionals provide instructional support for students under the supervision of a certified teacher. Under the No Child Left Behind guidelines, there are a number of positions which, in Idaho, would be considered paraprofessionals: Title I Instructional Assistant, ELL Instructional Assistant, Special Education Instructional Assistant, Youth Companion, OT/PT Technician and Library Media Assistant.
In order to work as a paraprofessional in a school that receives Title I funds, the individual must have completed two years of college study (32 college credits) or have an associates degree or higher. A person may also qualify to work as a paraprofessional if she passes the state ParaPro Assessment.
ParaPro Assessment Test
An individual who does not have at least 48 hours of college credit must take the ParaPro Assessment. As of 2010, Idaho has begun considering raising the necessary college hours to 48; thus anyone who has less than that will not be able to work as a paraprofessional unless he takes the assessment test. The test costs $40, and many school districts will pay this fee for their employees. The test is made up of 90 multiple choice questions, covering reading, writing and math. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) website offers an online study guide.
Most school districts in Idaho require that a paraprofessional pass a competency evaluation. These evaluations generally consist of 10 principles, ensuring that the paraprofessional has a basic knowledge of the discipline taught, that she understands how students learn and can assist them and that the paraprofessional understands that students differ in their approach to learning. Paraprofessionals are also required to use a variety of instructional and communication techniques and display the ability to implement the instructional plans.
Kelly Seiler has been a freelance writer and editor in Texas for the past 10 years. She grades essays on national standardized tests and writes reports on service received at local restaurants and businesses. She attended Bucknell University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English and secondary education, a Bachelor of Science in elementary education and a Master of Science in education.