This highlights how states are supposed to determine “adequate yearly progress,” based on the “No Child Left Behind” Act of 2001:
- States must base “adequate yearly progress” primarily on the results of the state testing system. They also must include graduation rates for high schools and at least one other academic indicator for elementary schools, as well as any other academic indicators they choose. But those indicators may only be used to identify additional schools or districts in need of improvement or corrective action, and not to reduce the number of such schools.
- States set the initial starting point for schools and districts using data from this school year.
- The initial “bar"—or the minimum percent of students who must score at or above the “proficient” level—must be the higher of two options: The first option is the percent of students at the proficient level for the lowest-performing subgroup of students. The second option is for states to rank schools by the percent of students proficient on state tests in 2001-02, and then set the bar at the point at which one-fifth of all students are in schools with lower proficiency levels.
- For a school or district to make adequate yearly progress, both the overall student population and each subgroup of students—major racial and ethnic groups, children from low-income families, students with disabilities, and students with limited proficiency in English—must meet or exceed the target set by the state.
- For a school or district to make adequate yearly progress, both the overall student population and each subgroup of students—major racial and ethnic groups, children from low-income families, students with disabilities, and students with limited proficiency in English— must meet or exceed the target set by the state.
- The state must raise its bar in equal increments, with the first increase within two years and at least every third year after that, so that in 12 years, all students score at or above the proficient level.
- The act provides a “safe harbor” for schools whose total student populations make adequate yearly progress, but in which one or more subgroups fail to meet the target. Those schools still will be deemed to meet the AYP requirement if: The proportion of students in the relevant subgroup who failed to score proficient or higher has declined by at least 10 percent from the preceding school year; the group has exhibited progress on one or more additional academic indicators required by the law; and not less than 95 percent of each subgroup of students enrolled in the school took the tests on which adequate yearly progress is based.
Schools that fail to make adequate yearly progress for two years are identified as “needing improvement.” They must receive technical assistance from their district, devise a school improvement plan, and provide students with a choice of public schools to attend. Schools that fail to meet their AYP targets for three years also must provide supplemental services to students, which may include private tutoring at public expense. Schools still failing to make their AYP goals at the end of four years are identified for progressively more severe “corrective action” and could ultimately be shut down, taken over by the state, turned into charter schools, or put under private management.
A version of this article appeared in the April 03, 2002 edition of Education Week as In Summary