DOE released AYP report today. High schools still lagging.

DOE says fewer Georgia schools are in Needs Improvement category after today’s release of the annual Adequate Yearly Progress report.

(The AJC has the results here in easy-to-use form.)

According to DOE:

Just over 14% of schools are in Needs Improvement status this year, compared to 15.4% last year. Thirty-five schools across the state shook the Needs Improvement label by having made AYP for two consecutive years.

“The initial AYP results demonstrate that our schools are more focused than ever and that is translating into fewer schools in Needs Improvement status,” said State School Superintendent Brad Bryant. “However, the academic bar and the graduation rate requirement increased this year, leading to a smaller percentage of schools making AYP, which is something we will focus closely on over the next several months.”

More than 71% of Georgia’s public schools made AYP, a drop from 79% of schools that made AYP last year. This drop is due in large part to the increase in the academic bar in mathematics that students in elementary and middle school had to meet in order for a school to make AYP.  The graduation rate that high schools must meet also increased this year to 80%.

The final AYP report will be released in the fall and will include summer retest scores, summer graduates and appeals.

Compared to initial AYP results last year, the 2010 report shows that:
- The percentage of schools in Needs Improvement status decreased from 15.4% to 14.1%.
- The number of schools in Needs Improvement status decreased from 334 to 305.
- The percentage of schools making AYP decreased eight points from 79.1% to 71.1%.

The percentage of high schools making AYP continues to lag behind. In 2010, just over 33% of the state’s high schools made AYP, a decrease of almost 14 percentage points from 2009’s initial results.

“We know there is a lot of hard work going on in our high schools, but we must provide more focused support for our students and teachers,” Superintendent Bryant said. “I am committed to focusing on the needs of our high schools to ensure they are preparing students for the 21st century.”

AYP is the formula used to determine if schools are meeting expectations under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. It consists of three parts — test participation, academic achievement and another statistic, called a “second indicator.” The academic goals continue to rise every few years toward a goal of 100% proficiency for all students by 2014. This year, the academic goal for grades 3-8 increased in mathematics and the graduation rate bar went up.

All students at a school, as well as any qualifying subgroup of students, must meet goals in all three categories in order to make AYP.  Schools that do not make AYP for two consecutive years in the same subject are placed in Needs Improvement status and face escalating consequences.

There are 305 schools in Needs Improvement status for the coming school year. These schools must offer parents options, such as public school choice or federally-funded tutoring. Depending on how long these schools have been in NI, some may have to make structural or organizational changes to improve student achievement.

In 2009, there were 334 NI schools after the initial results. That number dropped to 278 after retests, summer graduates and appeals were worked into the formula.

“As we normally do, I believe we will see the number of NI schools drop again when we do our final AYP determinations in the fall,” Bryant said.

The state’s initial 2010 graduation rate is 79.9%. That is up from the initial 2009 graduation rate of 77.8% and the final 2009 graduation rate of 78.9%, which included summer graduates.

“Improving the graduation rate is crucial to Georgia being competitive with other states in recruiting and retaining jobs,” Superintendent Bryant said. “The more students graduating from high school with a meaningful diploma, the more students we have ready to go to college or enter the workforce. There is still more work to be done, but this year’s graduation rate is an encouraging sign.”

Graduation rate must be used as a “second indicator” for all high schools and the bar was raised this year.

In order to make AYP, a high school had to have a graduation rate of 80% or higher, up from 75% last year. If a school did not make that goal, they could use a “second look” which means:

- Having a graduation rate that averaged 80% or higher over the past three years OR

- Having a graduation rate of at least 60% the previous year (2009) and showing a 10% improvement in the rate this year.

Today’s AYP release sheds more light on the need for Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – No Child Left Behind.  Even though both the Spellings administration and the Duncan administration at the U.S. Department of Education have worked to grant administrative flexibility, it has been insufficient to overcome the original accountability benchmarks established by Congress in 2001.

“As a state, we have no problem moving toward a proficiency rate of 100% – to do anything else would underserve a portion of Georgia’s students,” said Superintendent Bryant. “We are frustrated over the fact that the original authorization of No Child Left Behind came with the promise that it would be reauthorized in five years with increased flexibility in return for increased accountability. Once again we call upon Congress to act in a manner which supports the hundreds of thousands of teachers and school leaders across the nation who are more focused on student learning than ever before.”

157 comments Add your comment

Brad Bryant Blather

July 19th, 2010
2:00 pm

“As a state, we have no problem moving toward a proficiency rate of 100% – to do anything else would underserve a portion of Georgia’s students,” said Superintendent Bryant…”

So 999 students pass, and one who only begrudgingly goes to school as a result of his probation terms due to a crystal meth conviction fails the test, so the school fails to make AYP because 100% of the students didn’t pass the test.

And blathering Brad Bryant, the sycophant shill, has no problem with this?


David S

July 19th, 2010
2:04 pm

So you are going to trust the government to judge its own performance. That is the criteria by which you will make decisions that directly impact the quality of education your child receives.

Seems a bit too much trust placed in the wrong hands.

Homeschool. I can guarantee your performance as a teacher will definitely improve every year and more importantly, your child will know that you truly care about their future and their education.


July 19th, 2010
2:08 pm

Ho hum…this is not news. Educators have been trying to tell folks that NCLB is impossibly insane. The percentage of schools not making AYP will increase by about 20 – 25 percent each year from here on. By 2014 just the few magnet schools that accept only gifted students will make AYP.

Listen to us politicians! Kids with IQ’s in the 50 – 65 range will never perform at grade level. Kids who do not speak English will never pass a grade level test in English until they have had a chance to learn the language.

I really thought Obama would straighten out NCLB by now. I was wrong.


July 19th, 2010
2:12 pm

@ David S

Read. Study. Do research.

Schools are being asked to educate all students equally. This has never been done anywhere at anytime in history. Perhaps you have the ability to teach your kids at home. Not everyone does. I have three masters degrees but I could never have taught my children Latin, Spanish, advanced physics, calculus, etc, etc, etc,…

Not to mention…I could not have taught them how to work with people of other ethnicities or economic backgrounds if I locked tham away at home.

Public schools are as good, if not better, than they have ever been in our history…but NCLB and AYP are completely irrational.

Dunwoody Mom

July 19th, 2010
2:23 pm

Wouldn’t it be refreshing, if just once, an educational official would stand up and say “this is not working and we need to throw all of this NCLB, RTTT crap down the toilet where it belongs.

Brad Bryant Blather

July 19th, 2010
2:24 pm

That would affect their paycheck so they won’t do it.


July 19th, 2010
2:25 pm

@BradBryanBlather Not sure who showed you how to interpret AYP, but one child does not keep an entire high school from making AYP. When testing, the school is measured for ATTENDANCE/PARTICIPATION (on test days only) to determine whether they met the other indicators. For the AYP subgroups (African American, Latino/Hispanic, Students with Disabilities, etc.) there are a certain number of students needed to ‘make’ a group. For example, if the required number is 100 for SWD but the school only has 92, they are still tested but the scores do not impact the school. I hope that makes sense. I think the DOE should do a better job of making sure everyone understands AYP. But then I guess that would mean they would REALLY have to do their jobs because then all taxpayers and stakeholders would be educated enough to know when they are trying to pull the wool over our eyes!


July 19th, 2010
2:28 pm

Really dumb question here:

What does distinguished mean in regards to the AYP findings? I cannot find this in any key or legund, and my child’s school has this listed. Do you know?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MONISE SEWARD, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: DOE released AYP report today. High schools still lagging. [...]

Brad Bryant Blather

July 19th, 2010
2:34 pm

I’m referring to the 2014 provision that said if 100% of students don’t pass the test, the school fails. Is that designed to hold schools accountable, or designed to make schools fail so the right can push for vouchers and such?

If they think vouchers are the way to go, then have an honest discussion about them; not by rigging the game against schools by making it impossible to pass so you can justify your position.

It’s not like there isn’t enough wrong with the public schools that you could make a case for voucher without rigging AYP after all.


July 19th, 2010
2:35 pm

@David S.

As an educator the curriculum (and final years test) for home school is different from that of public and private schools. Home school is only at an advantage if the parent is a former public school educator of significate time. Even if the parent has a doctorate and have no indepth hands-on public education knowledge and continued access to academic needs then home school is not as much of a success as those would like to take pride in.

I agree with Vince home schooled children miss out on more than just what academics are needed to compete but much of the social aspects of life. Let’s all be for real in many many cases when these sheltered kids are let loose, all —- breaks loose. And, those famous words are spoken “Where did I go wrong?”

SouthGA Teacher

July 19th, 2010
2:41 pm

Be sure that you make mention that the cut score for ELA was INCREASED last year. So instead of schools hitting 95%+ on the ELA GHSGT, it has dropped SIGNIFICANTLY.
But wait until this coming school year with the new mathematics curriculum. No school in the state will make it ever again.

high school teacher

July 19th, 2010
2:50 pm

Also keep in mind that the graduation rate is nothing but a numbers game. The number of students graduating must be the same as the number of students who entered as freshmen 4 years earlier, unless there is a paper trail showing that they transferred. Students who graduate in 5 years are a negative statistic in graduation rate because they didn’t graduate on time (even though they earn a high shcool diploma). Even the US Army recognizes that some students need more time to master a subject; they allow boot campers to re-take certain portions of training if they fail the first time around. Shall we grade the Army according to AYP standards?

I am grateful that no one has begun teacher-bashing yet. I will be the first to admit that some teachers should be removed from the teaching field, but they are not the only reasons that GA fared poorly with AYP. Thank you for trusting the teachers :)

Color me confused

July 19th, 2010
2:50 pm

Does this include the summer retakes?

Maureen Downey

July 19th, 2010
2:51 pm

No. It does not count retests.

David S

July 19th, 2010
2:54 pm

I would contend that government schools are certainly NOT performing at the highest levels ever – not by a long shot. I would also contend that while homeschooling is the best approach for education, a truly free and competitive market in delivery of educational services would be the next best alternative to what is now a failed monopoly of services delivered by the disfunctional government sector.

Yes, government schools are being asked to educate everyone equally. Central planning and the lowest common denomenator approach don’t work. Everyone cannot be educated equally. Everyone is different, and thus a competitive free market is the ONLY mechanism capable of addressing these differences and changing needs.

But then some of us got it a long time ago, while the rest of america anxiously awaits the next government study, government analysis, government test result and the like in hopes of being able to console themselves with results that will justify their incorrect choice to trust the government to raise and educate their children.

Such an approach would be fine if it weren’t your kids futures and their education at stake.

The state constitution can be amended by vote and the marketplace is prepared as always to fill the educational void.


July 19th, 2010
2:57 pm

What happens when the class of 2012 is due to graduate? With all of the failures in Math 1 and Math 2 even in many of the “good” schools, students will not graduate in 4 years. What does this to average class size as students have to retake these courses in order to graduate?

What was the failure rate over the last 2 years for Math 1 and Math 2?

@David s

July 19th, 2010
2:59 pm

Belgium seems to have had some success with their version of of using the marketplace. Let the money follow the child to the school that does the best job educating the child.


July 19th, 2010
3:09 pm

NCLB is crap. True.

Why are HS lagging? Here are a few reasons….

1. Too many middle school students are passed from grade to grade even though they fail the CRCT. If they cannot pass middle school, no way can they pass high school.

2. Teenagers in high school ‘come into their own.’ This means that they think they know better than adults, even their parents. If a community doesn’t strongly support education, what do you think these teenagers will value?

3. The buck stops in high school. High school teachers know that they must teach the content in order to help students pass the GHSGT. They cannot water down the content. Unlike the CRCT, the GHSGT has very very few exceptions. Students MUST pass it.

IMHO, high schools are not lagging. They are dealing with the level of student that walks into their doors.

Dunwoody Mom

July 19th, 2010
3:20 pm

@Teacher, I would go further and say the solution must start in elementary school. If a child does not “get” the fundamentals of reading and math early on, they won’t learn those skills in MS or HS.

reality check

July 19th, 2010
3:20 pm

Like a psychopath once said; “its all part of the plan”

and I would agree the way the republicans have worked in the system is amazing. A lot jumped on NCLB, it will be great, oh sure 100% on grade level and graduating on time by 2014. RIGHT

Nothing is ever 100% every year, Well unless you listen to Berny Madoff.

NCLB orginial co writer jumped shipped once he figured out is was about getting vouchers.

GA’s political machine just took it to the next step for vouchers, employ a new math right before 2014 where every single student has to take 4 maths in High school. Math 4 being pre-cal

we got High school students that dont know their multiplication tables and you want them to do pre-cal.

Most of the ppl in GA still have not figured out the game that is being played. For the ones that finally see the light; we got a whole lot of work ahead


July 19th, 2010
3:24 pm

@ Education CEO—The goal of NCLB was to have 100% proficiency in math and reading by a certain date. That is why you will see an increase in schools failing to make AYP. It’s an unrealistic goal. NCLB has helped to identify schools that need help, but GA has done a piss poor job of providing any help to failing schools. Just calling you a failure is not going to help students achieve. Go to failing schools, survey teachers, students, parents and other stakeholders to find out what they feel they need to succeed. I can almost guarantee that many teachers at failing schools will say that discipline is a major issue.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

July 19th, 2010
3:33 pm

I found good news, in that Jackson HS in APS did not make AYP, so I think that means that they have to allow students to transfer; by implication, I’ll be rooting for them to not make it next year too, so my incoming-freshman daughter will be eligible to go to another school (I think that’s how it works, right?).


July 19th, 2010
3:33 pm

This information comes as no surprise especially since at my high school, we receive students who have failed most if not all parts of their CRCT’s. Bear in mind, this is aggregate data. I think when you break the information down into the subgroups such as race, ethnicity, economic disadvantaged, etc. you will have a more complete picture of the state of education in the State of Georgia. As I have posted before, what makes this report especially sad is that for high schools, the GHSGT is an incredibly easy exam. And for that student who struggles with the most basic information, fear not for administrators and education consultants across the land tell teachers, “DIFFERENTIATE!”


July 19th, 2010
3:35 pm

I just read your comments after posting mine. No truer words spoken (blogged). The CRCT’s are a dog with no bite.


July 19th, 2010
3:44 pm

NCLB has been a nightmare for the public school system since George W. Bush and his cronies from Texas promoted this failed education policy. In fact, as I was researching B-Schools with my 17 yr old son, I found this tidbit on George Bush that explains his grossly incompetent insights regarding public education. Read the excerpt below:

However, according to sources within the university, Harvard Business School fell afoul of the accreditation board because of its acceptance of George W. Bush who was so grossly unqualified, even for a legacy student, that it brought disgrace to Harvard’s admission process.

Furthermore, evidence was produced that showed that the young Bush received his degree even though he did not attend classes or meet basic academic requirements. Representatives of the International Academic Review Board speaking anonymously said that the favoritism showed to George W. Bush made a mockery of the Harvard Business School and rendered their diplomas valueless.

john konop

July 19th, 2010
3:47 pm

Can we all stop the spin and admit No Child Left Behind and Kathy Cox FAILED. You guys have tried to cheat the system instead of just admitting a one size fit all approach idea for education was horrible.

No Amount:

Of lowering the bar on the CRCT cut scores

Not counting drop-outs correctly

Re-vamping failed ideas like math 123

Blind eye approach to cheating

At the end of the day it is time for a back to basics!

Let kids track toward aptitude not one size fit all

Stop the over testing and let teachers teach

Promote Coordination of the vocational/tech schools as well as colleges with the high schools. KNOCK down the walls and have all play in the sand box better.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

July 19th, 2010
3:47 pm

For all the complaints about testing- there are certainly many valid ones- what I see is that lousy schools, do lousy on the testing measures. The whole thrust of NCLB was to put those schools in the spotlight so that districts could not ‘hide’ them. But it’s like any criticism: it’s easy to point out flaws, far harder to fix them. All I get from all the back-and-forth here and elsewhere is that neither the political nor the educational authorities know how to proceed, and the politicians aren’t willing to put up adequate money, much less extra. The ‘educrats’ have proven that they can’t make efficacious use of the money, when they had it.
I tend to agree with those who, in one way or another, want the focus on the “basics”: qualified (and adequately compensated and respected) teachers, good facilities, and holding students *and their parents* accountable. All the “educational theories,” as others have noted, exist to make those pushing them money, and to give central offices more power and personnel than they ever should have at their command.


July 19th, 2010
3:55 pm

Teacher pegged it.

Look at all the counties where the elementary & middle schools made AYP, and even have “distinguished” status, but the high schools did not make AYP. Do the kids all of a sudden get stupid as they age? Would a county have a great elementary program and ignore the high schools?

Or could the CRCT bar be unreasonably low?

@reality check

July 19th, 2010
4:10 pm

reality check’s post is an example of the kind of intellectual honesty this blog desperately needs.

Legend of Len Barker

July 19th, 2010
4:11 pm

Check out even the differences between elementary and middle school. Knowing the individuals who teach at both schools in the home county, the results are reversed. Having also assisted in proctoring CRCT one year and having set up practice test, the middle school version, to use a colloquialism, is a “booger-bear.” If social studies were a requirement to pass, no school would make it in the state.

There is a huge difference – especially in science and social studies – between the state-sponsored practice material and what is actually on the test. It especially doesn’t help that the state is quite slow in updating its practice material at the middle school level.

There needs to be a standardized test at the statewide level so we have an idea of where everybody stands. Making it count for so, so much, though, is quite ridiculous and is killing the souls of both parents and students. Perhaps that’s also why there is a huge difference in test performance after elementary school; we’re killing the kids’ desire to learn.

GA Teacher

July 19th, 2010
4:14 pm

Get rid of this Math 1, Math 2, Math 3- crap! Let teachers teach and discipline.


July 19th, 2010
4:24 pm

I know this is a little off topic GA Teacher, can anyone suggest a good website to find a business directory for Atlanta?


July 19th, 2010
4:24 pm

Kids with no parental guidance or discipline will not even come to school, little lone listen to teachers. It is a societal issue exacerbated by politicians. Too many broken homes and too much pampering of kids who do have parents.

Brad Bryant Blather

July 19th, 2010
4:58 pm

“Once again we call upon Congress to act in a manner which supports the hundreds of thousands of teachers and school leaders across the nation who are more focused on student learning than ever before.”

Maybe blathering Brad should do something to support teachers across the state, before pointing fingers at the feds.


July 19th, 2010
5:00 pm

Real shame all communities aren’t prepared to take advantage of public school.

Brad Bryant Blather

July 19th, 2010
5:13 pm

I’m just glad Brad Bryant is focused on focusing support on areas of focus so that the focus can be focusing on focusing support on areas that need focus.

Let’s stay focused.

MS Man

July 19th, 2010
5:15 pm

@Science Teacher671 @3:55 I would say that it is entirely possible for elementary and middle school to make and for high schools to be underserving kids. So many high schools and high school teachers believe that it is their obligation to teach, but that if the kids don’t get it the first or second time, then it is on the kid and they should suffer the consequences. They work hard to wrench any enjoyment that could come out of learning new things in the name of Carnegie Units and “real life” I don’t know any other institution in the world, other than the American High School, that is less like the real world while purporting itself to be. I would also point out that most parents pull away from their 14-18 year olds and make them wholly responsible as well. Teenagers aren’t able to make long term decisions yet and surely can’t take all responsibility for everything. That’s not to say that they shouldn’t be a part and have accountability, but it should be about learning, not punishing.


July 19th, 2010
5:16 pm

I know that everyone while everyone likes to blame Bush and the Republicans for NCLB, but what about Ted Kennedy? Didn’t he have something to do with getting it passed?

Brad Bryant Blather

July 19th, 2010
5:21 pm

I think we should support Brad Bryant and all call on the federal government to focus on providing focused support for training focused teachers in the areas that need focus, so they could better focus on focusing on areas that need focusing on, while still meeting the needs in areas that, while they don’t need the same amount of focus, still need focusing on so they don’t lose focus of that focus while they are focusing on areas that need focus.


July 19th, 2010
5:23 pm

MS Man…I would disagree. It IS on the student when they don’t prepare for tests (study skills should have been learned in middle school!), don’t turn in homework (Why should they? They had chance after chance in middle school and couldn’t be given a “zero” because ZAP- “Zeros aren’t permitted!), expect to be able to pass the class without demonstrating even basic knowledge (didn’t pass the CRCT, no problem!). The problem of kids hating school and learning starts in middle school. The middle school concept is a massive failure.

Stockbridge, UyD

July 19th, 2010
5:25 pm

Our state, like other states, has been pimped by the Federal Government. We would not have to put up with any of this AYP crap if we would quit taking Federal monies. Then, public education would truly be a function of the State, not the Federal Government.


July 19th, 2010
5:26 pm

I guess I don’t understand how this works. My kids’ school had the best CRCT scores they ever had–e.g. more than 90% of kids in grades 1-3 passing reading, no percentage for any grade on anything under 50% and most percentages in the 70s or higher–but they are marked as not making AYP. In all seriousness, how does this “system” work? Do you have to get 80% or higher in every test? That would be great, but it may not be reasonable.

Brad Bryant Blather

July 19th, 2010
5:31 pm

I think the biggest mistake that is made, isn’t in areas of not supporting the teacher, or not holding students accountable. The biggest mistake we make is not focusing on areas that need focus, and not providing facilities that would facilitate training in areas of focus, so that educators could focus on facilitating focus on areas that need focus with an improved focus.

FC teacher

July 19th, 2010
5:31 pm

Maureen, where can we find this year’s cut scores for the GHSGTs and CRCTs? Or even last year’s?


July 19th, 2010
5:31 pm

Allen, there could have been a subgroup (racial or SES or SPED) that performed badly. It could also be because the school didn’t show PROGRESS, AYP = Annual Yearly Progress. There are tons of different things that could have caused the “school” to “fail”.


July 19th, 2010
5:33 pm

Someone on here said follow the money. Who is cashing in on this testing mess? Kids learn at different rates. Gosh people, review Maslow’s hierarchy. The people who have to think about where their money is coming from because they are unemployed or underemployed are least able to engage in the leisure of critical thinking about the essence of life. They have no time to spend teaching their children at home because they are at work or too tired to go to the museum. They depend on the schools that they pay taxes for to totally educate their children and prepare them for life. Teachers shoul be altruistic and devote 10 to 20 unpaid hours each week nurturing their children and forget about their own families. What’s wrong with this picture?

I am a teacher but I refuse to allow strangers to be totally resposible for the education of my children. If public schools are a nightmare , it is because we the parents, voters and taxpayers allowed government officials to tell us that we no longer had to assume any responsibily for educating our children if they attended public schools. We did this!


July 19th, 2010
5:38 pm

Follow the money? Google Bush family-McGraw Hill for starters.

Brad Bryant Blather

July 19th, 2010
5:41 pm

Maybe it’s a blessing Brad Bryant isn’t on the ballot. Now that he doesnt’ have to focus on getting elected, he can focus on making sure Georgia is focusing on areas that need focus so that the focus can be on facilitating focus on areas that need focusing on.

high school teacher

July 19th, 2010
5:47 pm

Allen, one year at our high school, our overall math pass rate for the GHSGT was 94%, but our black population only scored 75%, which was lower than the goal rate, so our school didn’t make AYP.